Media releases

  • Brock to co-host international seminar on parental leave policies

    MEDIA RELEASE: 11 July 2018 – R00139

    Eight out of 10 fathers in Quebec take paternity leave, compared to one out of 10 fathers in the rest of Canada.

    Under the Quebec Parental Insurance Program (QPIP), a woman earning minimum wage works up to three times fewer hours to qualify for parental leave benefits compared to women under Canada’s Employment Insurance (EI) system.

    “Why is Quebec a leader on these issues?” says Brock University Professor of Sociology and Canada Research Chair in Gender, Work, Care and Community, Andrea Doucet. “How can Quebec’s successes be translated into lessons for the rest of Canada?”

    Doucet is among a group of international experts who will be exploring these and other questions at the 15th annual International Seminar of the Network of Leave Policies and Research, to be held in Toronto Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14. It’s the first time the annual seminar has been held outside of Europe.

    This year’s theme is The Fit and Future of Parental Leave and Other Care Policies: Design, Equality, Impacts, Measurement.

    Co-hosted by Brock University, the University of Guelph and the l’Université du Québec and funded in part by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the seminar will address key topics in parental leave such as:

    • How parental leaves fit with other care policies.
    • Policy designs that maximize equality and impact.
    • Measuring and assessing broad social impacts and progress towards gender and social equality.

    The Leave Policies and Research Network is a consortium of policy experts from 42 countries, whose members produce cutting-edge research on parental and other leave policies.

    Paid parental leave is currently a hot topic for governments, policy-makers, researchers and activists in Canada and internationally, says Doucet.

    “Paid leave supports families by providing parents with time and financial resources to care for their newborn infants, but some policy designs deepen social and class inequalities. A strong economic case can be made for implementing inclusive policies that support all parents,” she says.

    For instance, Canada’s two parental leave benefit programs — EI and QPIP — have huge disparities, according to 2016 research headed by then-Brock postdoctoral fellow Lindsey McKay.

    McKay and her team (Sophie Mathieu and Doucet) found that 38 per cent of all mothers across Canada — with the exception of Quebec — were excluded from maternity or parental benefits under the EI program.

    In contrast, only 10 per cent of mothers in Quebec were excluded from QPIP, formed in 2006 when Quebec exited the federal EI parental leave program. The research also found mothers in households earning more than $30,000 receive disproportionately more access to benefits than lower-income households, especially under EI.

    Strong family-work policies, such as parental leave, are integral for a country’s social and economic health, says Doucet.

    Canada is the first location outside of Europe to host the annual seminar. Giving the opening address will be Toronto MP Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

    Key speakers and presentations include:

    • Marian Baird (University of Sydney Business School, Australia), who was recently named one of the 100 most influential people in gender policy around the world.
    • Experts from 22 countries will speak about their national parental leave policies.
    • A team from the World Bank, who will share a new report and present a paper entitled Women, Business and the Law: Comparing leave policies across 189 economies.
    • The Better Life Lab and Slate magazine of U.S. think tank New America, who will present Paid Family Leave: How Much Time is Enough?

    The Canadian members of the International Network on Leave Policies and Research will also be featured on a Canada/Quebec panel. They include Brock’s Doucet and SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow Sophie Mathieu; McKay, who is now with Thompson Rivers University, Donna Lero from the University of Guelph; and Diane Gabrielle Tremblay from l’Université du Québec.

     For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Maryanne Firth, Writer/Editor, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x4420 or 289-241-8288

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Wellness Wish reunites Brock grad with grandfather

    MEDIA RELEASE: 6 July 2018 – R00138

    As a stream of relatives entered the house, 97-year-old Marshall Desveaux had one thing on his mind.

    “Where’s Katie?” he asked as each person entered the room.

    It had been four years since the New Waterford, N.S., resident had last seen his granddaughter, Brock University student Katie Desveaux, and the pair had a lot to catch up on.

    Katie was surprised by the Brock University Students’ Union this spring when her Wellness Wish was granted and a plane ticket to the east coast purchased in her name.

    Started in 2016, the BUSU-run Wellness Wishes initiative aims to ease the minds of students during exams by having them fill out a card with a wish before seeing them granted later in the school year.

    While Katie’s ask was bigger than most, there was nothing the 2018 Sport Management graduate from Toronto wanted more than to visit her grandfather in Nova Scotia. And it was a request BUSU simply could not ignore.

    Though the two speak on the phone often, the busyness of school and work had prevented Katie from being able to make the trip east to visit her grandfather for several years. But thanks to a gap in her schedule, and the generous granting of her Wellness Wish, she hopped on a flight bound for Halifax on June 27.

    “He was ecstatic to see me and had a huge smile on his face,” Katie said upon her return July 4. “He gave me a long hug and then we sat down right away and chatted about school and work while he ate his tea and cookies.”

    The duo made sure to make the most of their time together, taking on activities impossible through their phone chats.

    “We went for strawberry ice cream at his favourite place, The Bayside, every day after dinner,” said Katie. “He can eat whatever he wants because he’s been fit his entire life after serving in the Second World War and later working as a mailman.”

    In addition to the daily pilgrimage for frozen treats, Katie also spent time embracing her grandfather’s passion for sports.

    “We watched a ton of baseball,” she said. “He cheers for the Yankees and Blue Jays, so there were lots of games on.”

    During her grandfather’s downtime, Katie caught up with a dozen other relatives she has in Nova Scotia and took in some local scenery including the Cabot Trail and vast ocean views.

    While the pristine landscape was memorable, it was the time she spent chatting with her grandfather that she will forever cherish the most.

    “I know I want to see him as much as I can now,” she said. “I updated him on how the rest of the family is doing in Toronto and there was a lot to catch up on in my life too.”

    As she prepares to start a new job as a Brock University recruitment officer in a few weeks, Katie reflected on how the trip perfectly wrapped up the student portion of her time at Brock.

    “The trip meant the world to me because I never thought I would end up getting something like that granted,” she said. “It felt like it was meant to be. Brock has done so much for me and this was such a nice way to top my career off. Wellness Wishes is a great campaign for students and I hope it continues for years to come.”

    The Wellness Wishes initiative has granted hundreds of wishes to Brock students since 2016 and will return again next year. In addition to the Nova Scotia trip, some of the many wishes granted over during the 2017-18 school year included a new pair of Converse shoes, hoodies from the Campus Store, a pizza party at Isaac’s Bar and Grill and a yoga membership. A video showcasing this year’s recipients, including can be found online.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

    Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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    Categories: Media releases