US vs. Canada

Today, the US will take on Canada in the Women’s World Cup! Last summer, we did a series on the World Cup by writing head to head country comparisons. So we decided we would do it again this year for the women.

So on to our first head to head – US vs. Canada.

world cup soccer ball

Obsessed with soccer? US and Canada are pretty close in costs for soccer related expenses. It will cost you $2.50 more a month to join a health club in Canada than in the US, and your gym shoes will cost you $2.50 more as well. Playing soccer might be more expensive in Canada but Americans pay $4.00 a month more for cable and internet so watching the game today will cost us a bit more, unless you go to the bar to watch because your burger will cost you $3.00 more in Canada.

These are small price differences, but Canada does beat US in two big categories – child care and maternity leave.

Child Care. Canada provides families with the Canada child tax benefit (CCTB), which is a non-taxable monthly payment to help eligible families with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age. Families who have children with mental or physical disabilities can also access additional financial support to care for their children’s long-term needs.

Maternity Leave. Canada mandates both leave and benefits for new moms. Depending on the length of employment history and the hours worked, new mothers can take between 17 and 52 weeks of leave from their jobs. Their employers are required to give employees their jobs back at the end of the mandated leave for the same pay and same benefits. It is also worth mentioning that either the mother or father can take 35 weeks of parental leave after the baby is born or adopted, and the parents can split up this leave however they choose. Isn’t that a great way to support families? Let them decide what works best for them!

What does this mean for families?

As U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez noted, Canada’s policies on child care and paid leave have resulted in significant growth in women entering the workforce over the past decade. In 2000,the U.S. and Canada had similar labor force participation rates among women, but women are now working at a higher rate in Canada than in the United States. This gap in workforce participation represents about 5.5 million more women not in the workforce in the U.S., which would equal about $500 billion in additional economic activity. As Perez notes, “America works best when we field a full team, and there’s a lot of female talent on the bench.”

So even though Canada beats the US in parental leave and child care, we will keep our fingers crossed that US beats Canada today in soccer!




Some of our comparisons came to us from Numbeo, an online database of user-contributed information and OECD Regional Well-Being.

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