Every newborn should have protected time with parents who have enough income to ensure that they get the best start in life. We can deliver on this commitment by ensuring full and fair access to Canada’s parental leave system – for every child.

  • Close to one in three infants are deprived of protected and paid time with their parent or primary caregiver;
  • About one in three new mothers are ineligible for parental leave benefits;
  • Canada ranks 19 out of 41 wealthy countries regarding parental leave given to mothers.


It is time to make sure every infant is included in a parental leave system that provides a good start at the most vulnerable time of life. Adequate parental leave pay can help prevent a fall into poverty, at a time in a child’s life when the prevalence of poverty in Canada is historically the highest and the most devastating. UNICEF Canada is advocating for:

  • At least 6 months of adequately paid, protected time with a parent or primary caregiver for every newborn;
  • An increase to parental leave pay to international standards.

Parental leave is one of the three fundamental “family-friendly” social protection and care policies that get children off to the best start and support families raising young children, along with income benefits and childcare.