Father involvement

Network of researchers and community organizations studies being a dad in Canada

Date published: 2011-12-05 12:00:00 PM

"This research really guides how we train staff at the Ontario Early Years Centres. It also produced some very practical tools that we use regularly in our programs for young dads."
—Brian Russell, Parent Educator, LAMP Community Health Centre, Toronto

Stay-at-home dads, working dads, single dads, step-dads—today in Canada there are as many kinds of dads as there are families.

Yet, just six years ago, fathers were next to invisible in Canadian policies and programs. No one really understood how “hands-on” dads contributed to their children’s lives. No one even knew how many dads there were in Canada.

Enter University of Guelph professor Kerry Daly and the Father Involvement Research Alliance. This SSHRC-funded network of researchers and community organizations studied almost every aspect of being a dad. They examined census data and uncovered serious gaps in existing statistics. They analyzed family-related policies and showed provincial and federal governments how they could build better, more inclusive family policies. And they conducted research on how fathers play and bond with their children that is now being used in parenting programs across the country.

The project website (www.fira.ca) has become a clearinghouse of expert advice on father involvement, and is regularly consulted by the media, nonprofits and governments around the world.