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Canada is a great place to raise a family

Marisca reflects on why the Great White North is a great country in which to have a baby

Happy Canada Day!

I’ve always been a proud Canadian but since having children, I’m so glad we live in such a great country. I wouldn’t pick anywhere else in the world to raise my girls. Before my first child was even born, I was grateful for our healthcare system.

The average cost to have a baby in an American hospital is more than $10,000, and that is without complications. I had prenatal visits throughout my first pregnancy, multiple ultrasounds, a caesarean section and I stayed in the hospital afterwards for three days. I left with a healthy baby and no bill.

I know we pay slightly more in taxes than our American friends do, but not having to worry about racking up a huge bill while going through labour and possibly making my medical decisions on whether I could afford them or not instead of what I knew was best for me and baby was something I won’t take for granted.

Even after labour and delivery, I didn’t have to worry so much about money.


In Canada, there are 15 weeks of maternity leave available followed by 35 weeks of parental leave. Our neighbours to the south get a lot less, in fact, they get nothing, unless their employer offers it.

The U.S. is one of the only developed countries without a national statutory paid maternity, paternity or parental leave. There is legislation that enables some employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid maternity leave but only some workers are even eligible for this.

I couldn’t imagine going back to work right afterwards. My babies didn’t sleep through the night for a long time, months, maybe even years. It would be so hard to focus at work while on little sleep and ducking out from meetings to find a quiet spot to pump. I’m thankful I was able to stay at home for a full year. I know some Canadian moms need to go back earlier, or want to go back, but I needed that extra time and I was able to take it.

On top of our healthcare system, Canada is a great place to raise children. There are so many beautiful spots to explore — did you know Canada is home to more than 560 lakes larger than 100 square kilometres and 10 per cent of the world’s total forest cover?

We also enjoy good schools and freedom to be whoever you want to be.

Canada was recently ranked the second best country in the 2020 Best Countries Report, just behind Switzerland. The report is based on global perceptions and indicators of prosperity.

Another report ranked the best countries to raise a family and Canada made the top five.

But we don’t need fancy studies to know that the Great White North is the best place to be.


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Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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