OTTAWA, March 10, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of
Human Resources and Skills Development, is pleased to announce that
approximately 6 000 individuals on parental benefits may be able to
access Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits effective March 24,
"The Harper Government is committed to supporting Canadian families,
particularly when they most need it which is why we introduced the Helping Families in Need Act," said Minister Finley. "The changes make EI more flexible for parents,
allowing them to qualify for sickness benefits if they fall ill or are
injured while receiving EI parental benefits."
As of March 24, 2013, parents who fall ill or become injured while
receiving parental benefits may be eligible for EI sickness benefits
with the new provisions under the Employment Insurance Act. Originally announced as part of the Helping Families in Need Act, this new measure could benefit up to 6 000 individuals per year.
EI claimants have been unable to access sickness benefits during a claim
for parental benefits because of the requirement to be "otherwise
available for work." This has also been the case for self-employed
persons, who were required to be "otherwise working" and have ceased
working because of their illness or injury. The amendments to the Employment Insurance Act waive these requirements for claimants receiving parental benefits and
facilitate access to sickness benefits.
This new measure complements other initiatives by the Harper Government
to ensure that the EI program is fair, flexible and responds to the
needs of Canadians. These include the:
Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered or Missing Children
earlier access to parental benefits for foster parents who have
committed to adopting foster children in their care;
ability of self-employed persons to opt into the EI program to access
maternity and parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits;
improved access to EI parental benefits for military families;
extended eligibility for compassionate care benefits to include
additional family members and others considered as "family" by the
person who is gravely ill; and
assistance to parents through the Canada Child Tax Benefit and the
Universal Child Care Benefit.
This news release is available in alternative formats on request.
IF THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN ANY PRINTED VERSION AND THE ELECTRONIC
VERSION OF THIS NEWS RELEASE, THE ELECTRONIC VERSION WILL PREVAIL.
Starting March 24, 2013, EI claimants who fall ill or are injured while
receiving parental benefits may be eligible to receive sickness
benefits. A person who is unable to work because of sickness, injury or
quarantine may receive up to 15 weeks of sickness benefits.
Currently, people receiving parental benefits under the EI program do
not qualify for sickness benefits because they are not considered to be
otherwise available for work.
Through the Helping Families in Need Act, which received Royal Assent on December 14, 2012, the Government
amended the Employment Insurance Act to waive the requirement for EI parental benefit claimants to be
"otherwise available for work" or, for self-employed persons, to
"otherwise be working" and to have ceased working because of their
illness or injury. This change allows parents who are claiming EI
parental benefits to be eligible for sickness benefits if they fall ill
or are injured.
The Helping Families in Need Act also introduced legislative amendments to the Employment Insurance Act to implement a new EI benefit for parents of critically ill children
and amends the Canada Labour Code to protect the jobs of parents who take time away from work to care for
a critically ill or injured child and/or to cope with the loss or
disappearance of a child as a result of a probable Criminal Code offence.
SOURCE: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
For further information:
Office of Minister Finley
Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
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