New Study Confirms Stigmatization of Men in Canadian Society

TORONTO, ONTARIO — (March 29, 2018) Canadian men face stigma. That was the conclusion of a groundbreaking new study into the experiences of men from all regions of Canada except Quebec.

“Assumptions that men are ineffective care-givers and potentially dangerous to women and children might lead others to believe them unfit (or less fit) in matters of family and in professions dedicated to protecting family, and that belief is what was found,” said the report’s author, Dr. Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson.

The research was approved by Athabasca University’s ethics board.

In this study, stigma was defined as a general imputation of character rendering the stigmatized unfit for particular sorts of social interactions. The research explored the experiences of 16 Canadian heterosexual, homosexual and transsexual men. Although the concept of stigma had previously been used to examine the place of various minority populations and women in society, it had not been previously applied to men.

All participants in this research experienced instances where it was assumed that they were a threat to others or irresponsible and incapable with respect to family responsibilities. As a result, they were judged as unfit in their roles as parents or as employees in specific occupations. These judgments were made without any investigation into their actual parenting or work practices.

Seven research participants shared experiences of stigma they faced as social work clients, students, and as social worker professionals. Robertson reported that since this study did not involve an investigation of the social work profession, this result was unanticipated. He recommended further research into the extent of male stigmatization in social work.

Robertson cautioned that while the study sample was diverse, it is possible that the stigma experienced does not apply to all men but to some, as yet unidentified, subset of men. He suggested that further quantitative research into the extent of this form of stigma is needed.

“This research reinforces the experiences of the hundreds of men that have reached out to us for help in family court, in accessing mental health services and in their professional lives,” said Justin Trottier, who manages the Canadian Centre for Men and Families, a men’s social service facility with operations in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary. “Men face stigma, but so do men and women who perform research in this underexplored area. Dr. Robertson deserves credit for this courageous and ground-breaking work. Our charity will aim to use his findings to help us better support men and families in our community.”

The results of this study were published in the American Journal of Men’s Health. The full journal article can be found at:

For further information contact:

Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson, Ph.D.

Justin Trottier
Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Men and Families