Highlights

Paid work and related activities

In 2010, Canadians who participated in paid work and related activities spent, on average, 8 hours 12 minutes on these activities on the diary day. Of this total, 7 hours 38 minutes were spent on paid work, and the rest (1 hour 5 minutes) on commuting to and from work, and other related activities.

Men spent 14 minutes less per day on paid work and related activities in 2010 than in 1998. In contrast, the amount of time women spent on such activities remained stable between the two survey years at just over 7 hours and 40 minutes per day. In 2010, men spent, on average, 8 hours 36 minutes on paid work and related activities, 53 minutes longer than women.

Men remained more likely than women to spend time on paid work and related activities. Nonetheless, the gap between the sexes continued to narrow. In 1998, 51% of men spent time on these activities on the diary day, compared with 36% of women, a difference of 15 percentage points. In 2010, these proportions were 49% for men and 39% for women, a 10 percentage point difference.

Unpaid work activities

Canadians who performed unpaid work such as household work, childcare, and civic and voluntary activities, reported spending 4 hours 4 minutes on these activities in 2010, an increase of 8 minutes from 1998.

Among those who did unpaid work, men increased their time on these activities by 15 minutes between 1998 and 2010, while the situation of women remained nearly the same. In 2010, women spent, on average, 4 hours 38 minutes on unpaid work, 1 hour and 13 minutes more than men.

In 2010, women were more likely than men (91% versus 81%) to have done household work on the diary day. The average length of time men spent doing household work increased from 2 hours and 51 minutes per day in 1998 to 3 hours and 4 minutes in 2010. For women, the average duration remained unchanged at 4 hours and 15 minutes per day.

The proportion of Canadians who participated in most unpaid work activities was similar in the two survey years, with the exception of cooking and housekeeping. The percentage of those who reported cooking decreased from 74% in 1998 to 65% in 2010, while the proportion of Canadians who did housekeeping fell from 41% to 36% between the two survey years.

Childcare activities

Respondents who took care of children spent, on average, 2 hours and 31 minutes a day on child care in 2010, an increase of 21 minutes from 1998.

In 2010, parents with children 12 or under spent an average of 2 hours 5 minutes a day providing primary childcare. Primary childcare is defined as care that is done as a main activity, such as physical care of children or reading to or talking with them. When adding on time spent caring for children while performing another activity, the duration of childcare totalled 3 hours 31 minutes a day.

Younger children require more attention, and the survey results reflect that. In 2010, parents with children aged 0 to 4 spent 2 hours 49 minutes of their day taking care of them as a main activity. When counting other activities done at the same time, parents spent 4 hours 52 minutes a day on this age group. In comparison, the average time for parents whose youngest child was between 5 and 12 was 1 hour 16 minutes as a primary activity and 1 hour 59 minutes if added to other activities done at the same time.

Regardless of the child's age, women spent more than twice as much time on their care as did men. For example, the total time women spent on children aged 0 to 4 was 6 hours 33 minutes per day. For men, the corresponding duration was 3 hours 7 minutes.

These differences between men and women were only partly attributable to more men working full time. Women with young children who worked full time (30 or more hours a week) spent a total of 5 hours 13 minutes a day on childcare. In comparison, men in the same situation spent 2 hours 59 minutes taking care of their children.

Education and related activities

Increasing numbers of young people are pursuing a postsecondary education. In 1998, 38% of people aged 15 to 24 took part in education-related activities on the diary day, a proportion that rose to 43% in 2010. Those among this age group who were engaged in education-related activities on the diary day spent, on average, 6 hours 28 minutes a day on these activities in 2010.

Leisure and personal time

Canadians reported 13 minutes of additional sleep time from 1998 to 2010, bringing the average number of hours spent on daily sleep to 8 hours 18 minutes.

The proportion of people who took part in social activities declined from 66% in 1998 to 59% in 2010. People spent less time socializing with friends and relatives, including face-to-face and telephone conversations and restaurant meals. In particular, the time spent on socializing outside the home dropped between the two survey periods by 29 minutes, to 2 hours 9 minutes in 2010.

The proportion of Canadians who reported watching television on the diary day declined over the 12 year period from 77% to 73%. In 2010, those who did watch television spent 2 hours and 52 minutes doing so, similar to 1998.

In contrast to the trend in TV watching, the proportion of Canadians reporting using computers (excluding using a computer while doing paid work) for such things as email, on-line social networking, and searching for information increased nearly five-fold between 1998 and 2010, from 5% to 24%. In 2010, computer users spent an average of 1 hour and 23 minutes on the computer on the diary day. Computer use increased significantly across all age groups. In 2010, the age group with the highest proportion of computer users continued to be 15- to 24-year-olds (at 32%). This group spent, on average, 1 hour and 41 minutes a day using the computer.

Video game use is also on the rise. The proportion of people reporting playing video games on the diary day doubled, from 3% in 1998 to 6% in 2010. The amount of time spent playing video games increased from 1 hour 48 minutes to 2 hours 20 minutes between 1998 and 2010.

Time stress

In general, Canadians seem to be experiencing less time stress. In 2010, 34% of people aged 15 and over reported feeling trapped in a daily routine, down from 39% in 1998. The proportion of people who felt they had no time for fun declined from 38% to 29%.

During this period, there were fewer people who reported that they wanted to slow down in the coming year, and fewer who described themselves as workaholics. Fewer also reported being concerned about not spending enough time with family and friends, or wanting to spend more time alone.

These declines may be due to the fact that the 55 plus age group has become a larger part of the Canadian population over the years and in general people this age tend to feel less stressed by time pressures than their younger counterparts. For example, in 2010, about 31% of people aged 35 to 44 described most days as quite stressful or extremely stressful, the highest proportion of any age group (data not shown). This compares with 27% of 45- to 54-year-olds, 24% of 25- to 34-year-olds and 17% for those in the 55-to-64 age group.

Tables

Table 1.1 Average time spent per day on various activities, for the population and participants aged 15 and over, by sex, Canada, 2010

Table 1.2 Average time spent per day on various activities, for the population and participants aged 15 and over, by sex, Canada, 1998

Table 2 Average time spent per day on child care activities, for the population aged 15 and over with children aged 12 years or under, by primary and simultaneous activities, sex, child's age group and employment status, Canada, 2010

Table 3.1 Average time spent per day on various activities, for the population and participants aged 15 and over, by age group, Canada, 2010

Table 3.2 Average time spent per day on various activities, for the population and participants aged 15 and over, by age group, Canada, 1998

Table 4.1 Perceptions of time for the population aged 15 and over, by age group, Canada, 2010

Table 4.2 Perceptions of time for the population aged 15 and over, by age group, Canada, 1998