MARKHAM, ON, Feb. 18, 2019 /CNW/ - Supporting parents and young families has always been a priority for the Government of Canada. That is why the Government will introduce the Employment Insurance parental sharing benefit.
Today, at the Armadale Community Centre, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced that in less than a month, soon-to-be parents will be eligible to receive extra weeks of parental benefits. In an effort to encourage more parents to share the work of raising their children more equally, the Government of Canada will launch the parental sharing benefit on March 17, 2019.
The new measure will be available to parents, including adoptive or same-sex parents, for a child born or placed for the purpose of adoption on or after March 17, 2019—as long as they are eligible for and share their Employment Insurance parental benefits. When parents agree to do so, they will benefit from one of the following:
- 5 additional weeks of parental benefits when choosing the standard option; or
- 8 additional weeks for those who choose the extended option
Corresponding changes to the Canada Labour Code will also be made to ensure that federally regulated private-sector employees have the right to take leave while receiving the new parental sharing benefits without fear of losing their job.
"As we've seen in Quebec, and in other jurisdictions that have implemented similar policies, this type of benefit has been proven to encourage a more balanced sharing of child care responsibilities. This new measure will help us break down barriers to gender equality by making it easier for mothers to return to work sooner if they wish, reducing the wage gap between women and men, and helping Canadians spend more time with their families."
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
"Modernizing parental leave will help more women participate in the economy while encouraging two-parent families to share in the responsibilities and joys of raising children. The families of Markham-Thornhill will benefit from more time spent with their children and all Canadians will benefit from yet another progressive policy that is making life easier for Canadians from coast to coast to coast."
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, and Member of Parliament for Markham-Thornhill
- Up to 97,000 Canadian parents are expected to claim the parental sharing benefit per year.
- Since it was launched in December 2017, more than 32,000 parents established a claim for extended parental benefits, higher than the anticipated 20,000 claims per year.
- In 2016-17, women represented 85 percent of all parental benefits claims made, indicating that child care duties continue to fall heavily on mothers.
- In 2017, in large part due to the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, 81 percent of spouses or partners of recent mothers in Quebec claimed or intended to claim parental benefits, compared to only 12 percent in the rest of Canada.
Parental Sharing Benefit
Employment Insurance (EI) parental benefits are available to EI-eligible parents, allowing either parent to take time off work to care for a newborn or newly adopted child. The most common scenario in Canada, however, is the mother taking on the primary caregiving responsibilities. Child care duties continue to fall disproportionately to mothers, both in the short term following the arrival of their child, and over the longer term, often due to the challenges of re‑entering the workforce after time spent away.
Budget 2018 announced the EI parental sharing benefit, which provides additional weeks of benefits to families when the parents of a newborn or newly adopted child share parental benefits.
With the sharing benefit, parents selecting the standard duration of parental benefits could receive up to 40 weeks of parental benefits, an increase from the current 35 weeks. Neither parent could access more than 35 weeks in total, requiring both parents to take some time off in order to access some or all of the additional weeks.
Parents selecting the extended duration of parental benefits could receive up to 69 weeks of parental benefits, an increase from the current 61 weeks. Neither parent could access more than 61 weeks in total, requiring both parents to take some time off in order to access some or all of the additional weeks.
Both parents must choose the same parental benefits option (standard or extended). Parental benefits can be accessed at the same time or separately. Once parental benefits start being paid on a claim, parents cannot change their duration option (standard or extended) but may change how they share the weeks of benefits.
It will be available to parents who make a claim for parental benefits for children born or placed for adoption on or after March 17, 2019.
Corresponding changes to the Canada Labour Code are also being made to ensure that employees working in the federally regulated private sector have job protection while receiving the parental sharing benefit.
Specifically, the amendments to the Code will increase the maximum aggregate amount of parental leave that may be taken by more than one employee for the same birth or adoption from the current 63 weeks to 71 weeks, while the maximum amount of leave taken by one employee will remain at 63 weeks. The amendments will also increase the maximum aggregate amount of maternity and parental taken by more than one employee from the current 78 weeks to 86 weeks, while one employee cannot take more than the current 78 weeks of maternity and parental leave.
The extended duration of the leave will also provide these employees with greater flexibility to meet their unique family and work situations. The leave provisions under the Canada Labour Code would only apply to federally regulated private-sector employees, and not to provincially or territorially regulated employees. Employees should validate with their employer or provincial/territorial authority the leave provisions that apply to their situation.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: For media enquiries, please contact: Valérie Glazer, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P., Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, 819-654-5546; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]