In Quebec, time devoted to paid work has considerably increased
over the years. Moreover, the number of single-parent families and
households where both spouses work is growing. Consequently, we are
left with an increasing imbalance between work and family
obligations. Quebec is no exception to this rule. Indeed, the
Bureau de Normalisation du Québec (BNQ)
acknowledged that the province is dealing with a widespread
Consequently, it comes as
no surprise that it has become standard for employers to publicize
the work-life balance that they offer.
In response to this
dilemma, Quebec instituted the four-level Work-Family Balance
accreditation in 2011, which remains largely unknown.
Québec has also
implemented a number of initiatives to promote work-life balance,
such as its Work-Life Balance Recognition Prize and its financial
support program for organisations who wish to implement measures to
reconcile work and family life. Financial support for each
initiative can go up to $10,000 in the case of companies and up to
$50,000 in the case of associations. Moreover, in Quebec, parental
leave may now be added to paternity leave.
Needless to say, the
province is pushing employers to see work-life balance initiatives
as investments in their people and consequently in their
In sum, as work-life
balance has taken theoretically important strides in the
province, such initiatives remain somewhat meagerly implemented in
practice. However, with the aging of the population of Quebec, we
can imagine that the debate on the reconciliation between family
life and professional responsibilities is far from over. We may
expect that trade unions will keep making demands regarding that
issue when it comes to collective bargaining agreement
renewal, and that such social debate will probably translate
into legislation whereas the existing loophole cannot be addressed
exclusively by case law.
Thanks to EmilVanjakaand Kasandra-Rose Villeneuve,
students, for their contribution to this post.
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