How much will Canadians spend on Father’s Day?

Canadians plan to spend more than $1.5 billion on Father’s Day this year.

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Father and Son. Father's Day Spending Canada.

Father’s Day is fast approaching and sons and daughters across the country, whether they live at home or have long ago left the nest, are thinking about how they will celebrate their dads and how much they will spend. But before we get into Father’s Day spending, let’s see what being a father in Canada is all about.

Fatherhood in Canada

As of the last Stats Can survey (2011) on the topic, there are approximately 8.6 million fathers in Canada. About 3.8 million of these fathers have young children under the age of 18 living with them. The average age of a first-time father at the time of the survey was 28.3 years.

Modern family

Fathers are taking more active roles in the raising of their children. According to the Stats Can survey, as of 2015, 30% of recent fathers intended to claim parental leave. In Quebec, the province with Canada’s most generous parental leave policies, more than 85% of men intended to take time off to be with their babies.

Dads are also more involved in all things domestic, with 76% participating in household work in 2015, up from 51% in 1986. The trend persists in caring for young children, with the same report revealing that 49% of fathers provided help and care for their children in 2015, up from only 33% in 1986.

Fathers are generally taking on more progressive parenting roles. For example, according to Stats Can, in 2015, 1 in 10 families had a dad as a stay-at-home parent, as compared to only 1 in 70 in 1976.

Single fathers spend less time with their children than single mothers

As of 2011, the proportion of lone-parent families in Canada was just over 1.5 million, with 79% of those households being headed by a woman and just 21% by a man.

It is when parents separate and divorce that fathers seem to spend less time with their children compared to mothers. According to Stats Can, just 15% of children live primarily with their fathers following a separation or divorce, and while joint custody arrangements get a lot of press, just 9% of children split their time equally between their two parents’ homes. In the majority of cases (70%) children live primarily with their mothers.

So just how much is the average Canadian planning to spend on their dad this Father’s Day?

Finder’s research suggests that 45% of Canadian adults, or 13.5 million people, plan to spend money on their dads. The average amount that each Canadian intends to spend is $114. That adds up to more than $1.5 billion that Canadians will be spending this Father’s Day. The other 55% said that they would not be spending any money on Father’s Day this year.

But it turns out that there were some interesting surprises in the research. Where in Canada is dad celebrated the most? Does age affect how much you will spend? Do daughters celebrate dads more than sons? How does Father’s Day compare to Mother’s Day? Let’s take a deeper look.

Daughters more likely to celebrate their Fathers

The difference between whether sons and daughters are planning to celebrate Father’s Day is pretty astounding. 53% of women plan to spend money on the day while only 37% of men do.

It may be that sons don’t feel the same need to spend money on their dads and celebrate them in other ways. Clearly the “Daddy’s Girl” stereotype rings true for Canadian daughters, with many sons opting out of Father’s Day spending entirely. Interestingly, the sons who are planning to spend are also willing to dish out more money for any gifts – exactly $30 more on average, as compared to daughters ($132 vs $102).

23% fewer Canadians plan to spend money this Father’s Day compared to Mother’s Day. In fact, women and men planned to spend money on Mother’s Day almost equally, with women even edging men out a little at 60% vs 59%.

The younger you are the more you spend

Generally speaking, the younger you are, the more likely you are to celebrate Father’s Day and you will generally spend more on your dad than older generations.

Canada’s youngest adults, gen Z and millennials, are equally the most likely to celebrate Father’s Day at 68%, followed by gen X at 51%, baby boomers at 22% and the silent generation at 17%. This trend isn’t really surprising, as the sad reality is that the older we get, the greater the chance that our dad will no longer be around.

Canada’s youngest generation, gen Z, is the most generous by a wide margin. Those in gen Z said they would spend an average of $259 on Father’s Day this year. This is more than double what millennials plan to spend at $104, or gen Xers who intend to spend $92. Boomers and the silent generation spend far less at $91 and $55 respectively.

Nova Scotians celebrate Father’s Day the most, while Manitobans spend the most

Nova Scotians are the most likely to celebrate Father’s Day at 51%. Ontarians (50%), Albertans (45%) and British Columbians (44%) closely follow, with nearly half their populations celebrating Father’s Day. Quebecers are less likely to celebrate Father’s Day with just 41% saying they planned to spend any money on the day.

Just like Mother’s Day, Manitobans are equally the least likely province to celebrate but the most generous with their money. Only 30% of Manitobans said they will be spending on Father’s Day this year. But of those who are planning to celebrate they said they would spend, on average, a whopping $298. That’s $152 more than the next most generous province of Ontario, where the average planned spend is $146. Albertans round out the top three by planning to spend an average of $102.

In BC and Quebec, people are slightly more modest in their Father’s Day celebrations, with an average planned spend of $83 and $80 respectively. Nova Scotians may opt for quality time with Dad over gifts, since they are the most likely to celebrate but also the province that plans to spend the least, with an average spend of $65.

How to celebrate Dad: Social distancing edition

While lockdown measures differ across the country, social distancing is here to stay for now. With the sunny summer weather, Father’s Day will be the perfect time to practice a safer way of celebrating.

Ultimate BBQ

If you live in a province where small outdoor gatherings among family members are permitted, then this is the time to test out the new normal of socializing.

The safest way to enjoy the day is to remain outdoors and make sure you are keeping physical distance between family members. Prepare Dad’s favourite dishes, but keep it casual and serve them buffet style. This way, family members can eat in a more spaced out style than they would at a typical Father’s Day BBQ.

Social distance spread

Some dads may be in a high-risk group and prefer to stay inside for now. If yours falls in this category, do something special to bring the BBQ experience to him. Some popular steakhouses are offering kits to replicate their classic steak dinners at home.

Another option is to use a food delivery app to bring his favourite meal to his doorstep.

Golf date with Dad

Golf courses were some of the first leisure activities to reopen across the country because of how naturally suited the sport is to social distancing. Gift your dad with some new golf gear and hit the links together (if you can) for a day he will really enjoy.

Budget-friendly finds

Many Canadians are strapped for cash at the moment, and at the same time, tied to their computers. What better time than now to look for some great online deals? Shop early to allow extra time for shipping to ensure your Father’s Day gift arrives before the big day.

Show your love

For most Dads, showing your love and appreciation for all they have done for you is the greatest gift. There’s no need to break the bank. A special handwritten card or a call to reminisce will really warm the heart.

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