From feminist parenting and extended parental leave to moms and dads who may openly and legally get stoned, here’s some of what we can expect to change for families in the new year.
1. Feminist parenting In perhaps more than any other way, parenting in a post-Harvey Weinstein 2018 will be all about teaching our kids about consent. It will also be about looking at our own actions, suppressed experiences and examining how we’re all implicated in sexual harassment and assault—it’s everyone’s reckoning. While the #MeToo revolution has triggered a crisis in Hollywood, media, politics and workplaces everywhere, it’s also an enlightening opportunity to think about how we raise children to be feminist, body-confident, compassionate and respectful little humans, regardless of gender.
2. Longer parental leaves New parents planning to take parental leave in 2018 will be able to spread their employment insurance benefits over 18 months instead of 12, but many will have to wait for the go-ahead from the provinces and their employers before they can actually take the extra time off.
These extended benefits give workers in federally regulated workplaces like banks, transport companies, telecoms and public service the option of taking extra time off, but the other 92 percent of Canadian workers will have to wait for the provinces and their employers to be entitled to extended leave. So far, Ontario is the only province that has publicly announced it will adjust its parental leave legislation.
3. Legal pot If the Trudeau government fulfills its promise to legalize marijuana by Canada Day (July 1), it will likely have a dramatic impact on normalizing pot-smoking culture—even among parents. While “wine-mom” memes are ubiquitous on social media, there’s still major stigma around parents who publicly use cannabis.
But you can you be high and still be a good mom or dad? Is it possible that being a little buzzed actually makes you a better parent—more relaxed and in the moment? And what do you tell your kids about it, especially when they’ll be seeing it everywhere?
4. New Food Guide The revamped “Canada’s Food Guide” due sometime in 2018 will mandate public daycares and schools to improve the nutritional quality of children’s lunches and snacks. Current menus are based on meeting the standards of the 2007 guide, which doesn’t differentiate between whole and processed food and actually counts juice as fruit serving. Also expect to see less milk, more plant-based proteins and more home-cooked food overall.
The new guide also aims to bring up-to-date nutritional science to classrooms and teach kids to build a more positive relationship with food by rejecting diet-culture and emotional eating, and loving their bodies.
5. Tighter mortgage rules If you’ve been eagerly waiting to buy a house, you might have to wait a little longer. New federal mortgage rules come into effect in 2018, imposing a “stress test” that make it harder to qualify for a down payment of less than 20 percent of the home price. Experts say the effect of these new requirements will hit first-time home buyers the hardest.
For many families, it may mean renting a little longer and waiting for your income to rise before buying your first home, or in some markets, going for a condo instead. On the flip side, this may also have a welcome effect for people waiting for the overheated housing market to cool down before making their next move.
6. Free kids’ prescriptions An estimated one in every 10 families in Canada doesn’t fill their prescriptions and doesn’t take their medications because they can’t afford them. And if you have a child with a chronic illness, severe allergy or asthma, chances are you spend hundreds or more a year on drugs, EpiPens and inhalers. Ontario is changing that with a new program called OHIP+ that will cover the cost of all prescriptions for people under 25. While it’s the first province to launch, it’s a significant step in a growing push for national pharmacare for all Canadians.
7. Gender-neutral birth certificates Ontario and Newfoundland have announced they’ll allow a change in sex designation to “non-binary” on birth certificates, joining the Northwest Territories, which was the first province to do so. This move is especially significant to non-binary, transgender parents but is also welcome news for parents of babies born as “intersex” or with atypical sex anatomy and want their children to be legally referred to with gender-neutral pronouns “they/them/their.”
Governments have said that collecting sex information at birth is still necessary but one Canadian baby was already the first to not have their gender assigned o a health card.
8. Earth babies We’re all about reducing waste at home and raising environmentally-conscious humans, including being more responsible with all the stuff we buy, like eco-friendly diapers, recycled clothes and products that cause less harm to the planet. So it was heartening to see that green parenting is one of Pinterest’s top trend predictions after the social media platform saw a 750-percent spike in saves for eco-friendly clothing.
9. Binge-watching Since you’re already spending a lot of time at home with the kids and Netflix, you might as well have more choices, right? Well, Netflix is on it and says it plans to release 80 original movies in 2018. After a solid stream of successes including acclaimed hits such as Orange Is the New Black, Stranger Things, Narcos and Master of None, the company is promising a slew of new titles, “anywhere from the million-dollar Sundance hit, all the way up to something on a much larger scale.”
Apparently, Netflix is releasing more movies than most major studios combined. Maybe they’ll be something for the children, too.
10. The future is violet Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year is Ultra Violet and we’re loving it as a gender-neutral tone for nurseries and baby fashion. The inspiration behind the purple shade also reads like a list of strong values for any kid: “dramatically provocative” and “thoughtful”—conveying “originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking.”
Fans of Prince, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix might also appreciate the colour’s artistic influence and it’s said to symbolize creative expression and noncomformity. Spiritual types will also dig that the colour is associated with mindfulness and meditation practices. Bonus: If you choose Ultra Violet as your nursery colour, you won’t have to repaint when your toddler inevitably goes through her "purpo" phase.
11. Darling baby names Surprise, surprise—those sweet grandma names aren’t going anywhere in 2018, but there are still some solid hipster choices for good measure. Names like Emma, Charlotte, Sadie and Violet are looking strong for gals and we hear Finn, Jack, Atticus and Oliver are popular contenders for the little dudes. In other words, if the name is suitable for a Royal baby, you’re probably on-trend.