Sweden and Canada provide two significantly different maternity and parental leave programs. Sweden’s Parental Leave program is comprehensive and “progressive”, covering all eligible individuals and enjoying an extremely high utilization rate. Canada’s Maternity Leave program, in contrast, does not share the Swedish success; only about half the women who bear children each year collect maternity benefits.
The fundamental difference between Sweden’s and Canada’s maternity and parental leave programs stems from the underlying philosophies behind their respective policies. This study examines and compares the current programs in place in Sweden and Canada, and extracts potential lessons that can be learned for Canada from the Swedish Parental Leave program.