Unsigned: Municipal officials’ parental leave shows gender equity

Recently, an act called the Parental Leave Bill for Municipal Elected Officials was unanimously passed at Queen’s Park by our members of provincial parliament.

This is an update to an act that was last passed 15 years ago, detailing the rights to parental leave for people elected to municipal governments and it was spearheaded by Daiene Vernile, MPP for Kitchener-Centre.

It’s important to note that it has been since 2001 since this act was last edited.

That’s a long time for our society to change. What do we still need to work on?

Paternity leave is still so highly stigmatized in our society. There’s still the stereotype of the man being the breadwinner of a heterosexual family.

Fathers also don’t experience the same physical changes that mothers do. In maternity leave, mothers are expected to breastfeed and allow their bodies to rest after childbirth.

Does that mean that men don’t deserve a chance to take time off to be with their new children? Of course not. That’s why this act is so important.

The updates also include parental leave for new parents of adopted children.

These updates go far beyond the physical birth of a mother to her child. It’s about the connection and lifestyle changes that happen to any new parent.

It’s 2016 — every parent should have time off to spend with their new child.

We’ll hopefully see more representation of young candidates and more gender equity in Ontario’s municipal governments as a result of these changes.

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