Canadians caught in time crunch: Romanow

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Toronto - Canadians, especially women, are caught in a time crunch and the problem has been getting worse over the past 15 years, says a new report by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW), Caught in the Time Crunch: Time Use, Leisure and Culture in Canada.

People are struggling to meet the competing demands of a workplace that can reach out to them 24/7, caring for children and aging parents, and their own need to refresh body and mind. As individuals and as a society we are paying a steep price for this time crunch. We're less healthy, both physically and mentally and we have less time for leisure and relaxation with family

said The Honourable Roy J. Romanow, Chair of the CIW Advisory Board.

Among the report's key findings:

  • The proportion of Canadians experiencing high levels of time crunch grew from 16% in 1992 to 20% in 2005. About 23% of women felt time pressured and 17% of men.
  • In 1992, 23% of Canadians worked non-standard hours (weekends, evenings, nights, rotating shifts). By 2009 the proportion jumped to 29%.
  • Adults providing care to seniors grew from 17% in 1996 to 20% in 2006. More women (23%) took care of seniors compared to men (16%).
  • Teenagers 15-17 who had a meal on a typical day with their parents plunged from 64% in 1992 to 35% in 2005.
  • Time spent on social leisure activities dropped from 15% in 1998 to 12% in 2005.
  • Attendance at arts performances dropped from 15 million to 13 million in 2001-2006;
  • Low income, living in a poor neighbourhood, low parental education, recent immigration, racialized status, and Aboriginal status affect participation in leisure and culture.
  • Despite an overall increase in volunteerism in Canada, the proportion volunteering for culture and recreation organizations dropped from 32% in 1997 to 22% in 2004.

The report concludes with a call for a national dialogue on how Canadians can lead more balanced lives.

This is not just a simple case of individuals needing to better manage their time,

Romanow said.

We need family-friendly policies for all workers and more community resources and supports for seniors. We need governments and public policies that support leisure and culture activities and venues – ensuring that equity and inclusion are overarching principles in our approach.

For more information please contact: Linda McKessock at info@ciw.ca.

The CIW is a new way of measuring wellbeing that provides unique insights into the quality of life of Canadians – overall, and in specific areas such as: standard of living, health, the quality of the environment, education and skill levels, time use, community vitality, democratic engagement, and the state of leisure and culture. 

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