[Expert Hours] Join us on March 20th: Maximize Time Off While Ensuring Legal Compliance Register Now

Table Of Contents

Leave Management Report for 2023 | Paid Time Off (PTO) Statistics for Canada

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Table Of Contents

PTO: Good for the Employer, Great for the Employee

Paid Time Off (PTO) is an essential aspect of work-life balance, ensuring employees have the opportunity to take breaks, rest, enjoy, and rejuvenate. This article goes through the PTO landscape in Canada, exploring vacation, sick leave, maternity, and parental leave, paternity leave, and bereavement leave. By examining various aspects of PTO, we aim to shed light on the policies, trends, and experiences surrounding time off for Canadian workers.

Vacation

A Global Viewpoint: Comparing Vacation in Canada and the World

While living in Canada offers many advantages, a generous number of vacation days is not one of them. Although it ranks highly in terms of quality of life, Canada is among the worst countries in the world when it comes to mandatory paid vacation time. In fact, Canadian law guarantees only 10 days, which is less than half the number of vacation days compared to many other countries. The only country in the OECD with a worse record than Canada is the infamous ‘no-vacation nation’, the U.S., where workers aren’t guaranteed any paid leave.

Leave Management Report for 2023 | Paid Time Off (PTO) Statistics for Canada

Source: Leave Laws – Vacation Tracker

According to provincial laws, employees in the majority of provinces are typically limited to a maximum of 10 vacation days (2 weeks) during the initial years of employment with the same employer. However, in Saskatchewan, new employees enjoy the benefit of 15 days (3 weeks) of paid vacation.

Canadians Are Not Using All Their Allotted Vacation Time

According to a survey conducted by Maru Public Opinion, it was discovered that approximately 29% of employed Canadians utilized all of their allotted vacation days in 2022. In contrast, 17% confessed to not taking any vacation days at all. The majority, comprising 54%, took vacations to different extents.

Leave Management Report for 2023 | Paid Time Off (PTO) Statistics for Canada

A Slow Recovery from the Pre-Pandemic Levels

The number of Canadian employees using all of their vacation time has shown a gradual increase over the past two years, although it still lags behind pre-pandemic levels. Less than a third (29%) of Canadians say they used all of their allotted vacation time in 2022, marking a slight improvement from 2021 (27%) and 2020 (20%) but significantly below 2019 (48%).

Leave Management Report for 2023 | Paid Time Off (PTO) Statistics for Canada

Unused Vacation Days as a Global Phenomenon

The 2023 study conducted by Expedia across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific reveals that Canadians are not alone in not using all their allotted vacation days. In fact, workers in Japan were the only ones to have used more vacation days than allotted in 2022. As the data indicates, Canada ranks among the worst OECD countries both in terms of days allotted and days used, beaten for the lowest spot only by Mexico and the U.S.

Leave Management Report for 2023 | Paid Time Off (PTO) Statistics for Canada

Do Canadians Feel Vacation-Deprived?

According to the same study, the phenomenon of “vacation deprivation” is present worldwide, affecting more than half of workers globally. Vacation deprivation occurs when employees dedicate excessive time to work and insufficient time to taking breaks and enjoying time off.

Based on the data presented above regarding vacation trends in Canada in recent years, it is evident that a significant number of Canadians have experienced vacation deprivation, with over half of them (57%) falling into this category. It may provide some consolation to Canadians to know that their situation is relatively better compared to many other countries, and it falls below the global average.

Leave Management Report for 2023 | Paid Time Off (PTO) Statistics for Canada

Sick Leave

Paid Sick Leave in Canada

The situation regarding paid sick leave is not much better than with mandatory vacation. Only two provinces guarantee it: Quebec (2 days) and British Columbia (5 days). Prince Edward Island also provides 1 day of paid leave, but only for employees who have been working for 5+ years. Federal laws grant employees 3 paid sick days. None of the provinces in Canada offer the recommended ten paid sick days in a calendar year, as suggested by advocacy organizations. On the other hand, Canadian law ensures that employees in federally regulated sectors receive up to 10 new days of paid sick leave.

The duration of legally mandated unpaid sick leave varies across provinces. (Only for standard sick leave, any sort of absences for long-term leave, critical illness, injury leave, or compassionate care leave are not included.)

Leave Management Report for 2023 | Paid Time Off (PTO) Statistics for Canada

Source: Leave Laws – Vacation Tracker

Waiting Period for Sick Days

In Canada, employers have the discretion to impose a waiting period for sick leave benefits. Typically, the legally required waiting period in most provinces is either one month (30 days) or three months (90 days), with the exception of Ontario, where it is set at 14 days. Notably, the laws in Nova Scotia do not mention any specific waiting period for sick leave.

Leave Management Report for 2023 | Paid Time Off (PTO) Statistics for Canada

Source: Leave Laws – Vacation Tracker

Maternity and Parental Leave

Duration of Maternity Leave Worldwide: Canada Among the Best

In contrast to vacation and sick days, Canada’s employment legislation displays a more generous approach to maternity leave policies. The country firmly positions itself among the top performers worldwide, providing a total of 50 weeks for mothers (15 weeks of maternity leave and 35 weeks of parental leave). Notably, countries with the longest maternity leave surpass the one-year mark: Estonia leads the way with a maximum of 140 days of maternity leave and 435 days of parental leave (equivalent to 82 weeks), followed by Bulgaria with 410 days (58.6 weeks), and Sweden with 250 days of maternity leave and 150 days of parental leave (55.7 weeks).

Leave Management Report for 2023 | Paid Time Off (PTO) Statistics for Canada

Source: Leave Laws – Vacation Tracker

To learn more, read our article dedicated to maternity leave in Canada.

Paternity Leave

‘Daddy Days’ in Canada: A Step Towards Gender Equality

Canada also has a generous paternity leave policy, which is a part of parental leave and is shared between mother and father. However, as of 2019, fathers are guaranteed 5 weeks of their own, commonly referred to as ‘daddy days.’ These additional 5 weeks cannot be transferred to the mother, as part of a gender equality campaign by the Canadian government aiming to encourage fathers to take more parental leave, thus creating a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ scenario.

Check out our article dedicated to paternity leave in Canada to learn more.

Paternity Leave Growing in Popularity Around the World

The provided chart lists countries that offer the longest paternity leave worldwide. It’s important to note that the duration of paternity leave can be extended even further if fathers choose to take a larger portion of the overall parental leave. The number of weeks mentioned represents the leave specifically reserved for fathers (a separate minimum that cannot be transferred to mothers). Japan offers by far the longest paternity leave in the world, providing a full year (52 weeks) of absence from work.

Leave Management Report for 2023 | Paid Time Off (PTO) Statistics for Canada

Source: Leave Laws – Vacation Tracker

Quebec as a Trailblazer in ‘Daddy Days’

The first province to introduce mandatory paternity leave was Quebec in 2006. In the five years following the implementation of the policy, the percentage of fathers taking paternity leave increased significantly, soaring from 22% to 84%. This remarkable rise stands in stark contrast to the mere 11% of fathers in the rest of Canada who opted for paternity leave during the same period. The following chart indicates the gap has narrowed to some extent, but Quebec remains significantly ahead of the rest of Canada.

Leave Management Report for 2023 | Paid Time Off (PTO) Statistics for Canada

Source: Statistics Canada, General Social Survey – Family, 2017.

Bereavement Leave

Bereavement Leave Policies Across Canadian Provinces

Bereavement leave is available to workers in most Canadian jurisdictions. All provinces and territories (except Nunavut) have included a bereavement leave policy in their employment legislation. Generally, employers must provide at least 3 days of unpaid leave, with the exception of Ontario where it is set to 2 days. Some provinces guarantee paid bereavement leave: Quebec (2 days), Prince Edward Island (1 day), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1 day).

Leave Management Report for 2023 | Paid Time Off (PTO) Statistics for Canada

Source: Leave Laws – Vacation Tracker

Wrapping it up

In conclusion, the analysis of Paid Time Off (PTO) in Canada reveals a mixed landscape. While Canadians face challenges in terms of vacation and sick leave policies, there are positive strides in parental leave, with a growing emphasis on gender equality. Continued efforts to enhance PTO offerings and ensure equitable access to time off remain essential for fostering a healthy work culture in Canada.

This is my company logo
Easy PTO tracking, right at your fingertips.

Automate leave policies, improve visibility and plan better

No credit card required. Instant set-up.

Uros Vucendic
Uros Vucendic

After many years of working as a programmer, Uros has finally returned to his true passion, which would be writing, as a content writer in Vacation Tracker. Human words surely bring more beauty and poetry than codes do, so one could say that today, at last, he is content as a writer. A content writer.

Relevance of Hourly PTO for Marketing Agencies

Relevance of Hourly PTO for Marketing Agencies

Read more
Manage Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) in Vacation Tracker

Manage Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) in Vacation Tracker

Read more
TOIL vs. Overtime Pay: What’s Best for Your Business?

TOIL vs. Overtime Pay: What’s Best for Your Business?

Read more

Do you want to simplify PTO tracking?

Schedule a free consultation with our team to learn how Vacation Tracker can help you.

Request a demo