Toronto, ON – May 5, 2021. New data reveals that mothers in Canada are struggling under the brunt of the day-to-day decision-making and care for their children and families, including shouldering worry for their family’s mental and physical health. This has led to mothers carrying greater feelings of anxiety, isolation, anger, and sadness than fathers, with nearly half (46 per cent) saying they are reaching their breaking point.

Conducted by the Canadian Women’s Foundation in partnership with opinion research and insights firm Maru/Matchbox, the survey of Canadian parents found that, while mothers are worried about their own health and well-being, they are significantly more concerned about the mental and physical health of their families.

“The pandemic has had a devastating effect on mothers and family caregivers in Canada,” says Paulette Senior, President and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. “The statistics confirm that this gendered care work is extremely taxing, especially now. We need to pay attention and take systemic action to address how strained women and gender-diverse people have been.”

Other key takeaways:

  • Three in five mothers wish they could make their mental health more of a priority, but half (47 per cent) are unable to prioritize taking care of themselves
  • 28 per cent of mothers say they are struggling to keep up with work demands
  • Over a quarter of mothers say they are afraid to take time off work because they fear they will lose their job
  • 70 per cent of mothers, and 55 per cent of fathers, are concerned about their family’s mental health
  • Half of mothers indicate that it has been exhausting trying to balance work and child care responsibilities

Responding to these realities, the Canadian Women’s Foundation has launched The Mother Rising, a national campaign focused on what diverse mothers and family caregivers are going through and what needs to happen to make things better for them.

“We have relied on unpaid, often undervalued care work to uphold our families, communities, and economy for so long, and the pandemic is really stretching the limits,” says Senior. “This is not just a mothers’ issue or women’s issue–it’s an everybody issue. It’s about valuing and supporting mothers and caregivers in our neighbourhoods, homes, workplaces, and communities and ensuring gender justice.”

Visit The Mother Rising to fill out an open survey for mothers and caregivers to share their experiences.

For interviews on these findings, contact

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is a national leader in the movement for gender equality in Canada. Through funding, research, advocacy, and knowledge sharing, we work to achieve systemic change. We support women, girls, and gender-diverse people to move out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership.

Methodology: Released by Maru Public Opinion, this research was conducted by Maru/Matchbox who used its panel and data services provider Maru/Blue to survey a randomly selected sample of 399 parents on April 9, 2021 who are members of its Voice Canada online panel, and then weighted the results to be nationally representative. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) is +/-4.9,19 times out of 20. The detailed findings are at:

About Maru Matchbox: Maru Cares is a key tenet of Maru’s plan of action to ensure diversity, inclusivity and belonging throughout our organization. Focused around the three pillars of Philanthropy/Professional Service (via direct and professional services), Volunteerism (via local communities and organizations) and Education & Awareness (via internal initiatives, speakers, monthly focus/events), Maru Cares focuses on fostering diversity, inclusivity and belonging across all of our locally driven initiatives. This research was conducted under the philanthropy/professional services pillar to support the work the Canadian Women’s Foundation does to support women, girls, and gender-diverse people to move out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership.

Maru is a world leading CX and Insights Software & Advisory Services company. Maru was founded to disrupt the data and insight delivery industry with a combination of Software & Advisory Services delivering data in real-time via a unique service model. Maru helps its clients make informed decisions in near real-time by combining proprietorial software, deep industry experience and access to the best minds in research. Maru’s flexible service model means our clients can choose to self-serve our Software directly to create, launch and analyze projects; or choose to utilize our Software with knowledgeable support from insights experts. Maru successfully delivers major national and international CX and CEM programs for Enterprise organizations.