Home Culture and Types of Family

Every home and family is so very different it is difficult to arrive at any generalities about Canadian culture at home. Families in Canada are characterized in many ways beyond the traditional image of two parents who are married along with their children and living under the same roof. Canadian families come in all types and sizes and all are accepted forms of family under Canadian law: many have one parent only, some are “blended” families with step-parents and step-children, large numbers of families have parents of different races and religions, many are unmarried common law parents, some families have same-sex parents, some families have adopted children, other parents are foster families, and in some households, several generations live together.  Canadian families tend to be very involved in the local community, be hospitable, and have a positive view of the future.  

Canadians value their families, but because Canada has many immigrants and because Canada is so vast in area, immediate blood relations may not live in the same local area or even the same province. Canadians often travel great distances to be together for special family events, such as a wedding, or at holiday times during Christmas or summertime. Because relatives may not live in close proximity, Canadians tend to form close friendships with others who are not family members, and they frequently socialize on weekends and get together for special events.

In the majority of cases both parents work outside the home, but a common trend is one or both parents working from a home-based office. Depending upon career commitments, such as shift work or travel, one parent may be away from home at different times.

Canadians value schooling and a great deal of effort is devoted to assisting children in being successful at school. This may involve the family having frequent communication with teachers and school administrators or assisting children with homework after dinner.

Canadian families also value community involvement, and this takes many forms, but some common family activities with children are sports (such as playing on an ice hockey team or skiing), and cultural pursuits (such as music or dance lessons).  Many families have religious affiliations and many events involve attending religious services and related social gatherings. Also, many families volunteer time and resources to those less fortunate and often participate as a family in charity fund-raisers to support a cause.

In most Canadian homes the whole family shares in contributing to household tasks and the responsibilities of child rearing are considered the responsibility of both parents where there is more than one parent. In the Canadian home, the man is not considered the “head of the household” as the spousal relationship is usually a partnership of equals.  Both men and women share in financial decisions for the family, and women are entitled to own property and obtain their own bank accounts and credit cards.  Canada has very strict laws against any type of family abuse.

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