Over 10,000 claims established in first year of new measures for caregiving benefits
ST. CATHARINES, ON, Jan. 9, 2019 /CNW/ - Every day, Canadians across the country provide care and support for their family members, selflessly putting their needs aside for those of the ones they love. To ensure family caregivers have the proper support, the Government of Canada vowed to support family caregivers with Employment Insurance (EI) benefits that are more flexible, inclusive and easier to access. More than 40 percent of the over 10,000 claims established to date were made by caregivers in Ontario.
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, was at the Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre to highlight what has been accomplished so far. In the last year, the Government of Canada made the following improvements to the EI program:
- Caregivers who provide care to a critically ill or injured adult family member now have access to a new family caregiver benefit for up to 15 weeks. This helps more Canadians support loved ones when they need it most.
- For the first time, immediate and extended family members of children who are critically ill have access to a new benefit that was previously available only to parents. It replaces the Parents of Critically Ill Children benefit and continues to provide up to 35 weeks of benefits.
- Both medical doctors and nurse practitioners are now able to sign medical certificates for family caregiving benefits, which simplifies the process.
These changes apply to EI-eligible workers, as well as self-employed Canadians who opt into the EI program for access to EI special benefits, and who meet minimum income and other requirements to qualify for EI special benefits.
These improvements were informed by consultations on EI maternity, parental and caregiving benefits and reaffirm the Government's commitment to improving the EI program so that it is better aligned with the realities of today's labour market and addresses the needs of Canadian families.
"Every Canadian's situation is unique. We are improving EI caregiving benefits because we want to provide hard-working Canadians—who take time off work to care for their loved ones—with more options to better balance their work and life responsibilities."
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
"After Canada wide consultations, improvements to EI caregiving benefits will provide expanded supports for family members caring for their loved ones. This assistance will help family members focus on what's important, while easing the financial barrier to doing so."
– Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines (Ontario)
- As of October 2018, a total of 10,200 claims have been established for caregiving benefits for adults and children:
- 6,400 family caregiver benefit claims for adults
- 3,800 family caregiver benefit claims for children
- Of the 10,200 claims, it is estimated that approximately 4,300 were made in Ontario.
- It is estimated that approximately 22,000 claims will be established for the new EI caregiving benefits by fall 2019.
- The EI waiting period was shortened from two weeks to one week in January 2017 with the aim of easing the financial strain for EI claimants. This change will put an estimated additional $650 million in the pockets of Canadians annually. By October 2019, about 5 million claimants are expected to have benefited from the reduction of the EI waiting period from two weeks to one week.
The Government of Canada has introduced comprehensive changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program that benefit:
Eligible Canadians can now receive the following benefits: family caregiver benefits to provide care or support to critically ill or injured adults or children, and compassionate care benefits to provide support to a family member at end-of-life.
This includes maternity and parental benefits and leaves in addition to the new parental sharing benefit coming in 2019.
The new measures include eliminating restrictive new entrant and re-entrant rules, reducing the two-week waiting period, making permanent new Working While on Claim rules, simplifying job search responsibilities for EI claimants and launching Skills Boost.
SUPPORT FOR CAREGIVERS
Family caregiver benefit for adults
Since December 3, 2017, the new family caregiver benefit for adults announced in Budget 2017 allows eligible Canadians to receive up to 15 weeks of benefits to provide care or support to an adult family member 18 years of age or older who is critically ill (i.e. whose life is at risk as a result of illness or injury and has experienced a significant change in their baseline state of health).
Family caregiver benefit for children
Up to 35 weeks of benefits continue to be available while providing care or support to a child under 18 years of age who is critically ill (i.e. whose life is at risk as a result of illness or injury and who has experienced a significant change in their baseline state of health).
Since December 3, 2017, eligibility was extended to any eligible family member providing care to the child, rather than being limited to parents. The definition of family member has been broadened to include relatives beyond the immediate family. For example, an aunt or uncle could be eligible to receive the benefit to provide care to a critically ill child. These changes were introduced to better respond to the needs of diverse family situations and provide enhanced flexibility and access to this benefit.
Compassionate care benefit
The compassionate care benefit provides up to 26 weeks of benefits to individuals who are away from work to care for or support a family member at end-of-life who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death in the next 26 weeks.
If the health condition of the family member deteriorates, caregivers could receive the family caregiver benefit followed by the compassionate care benefit.
Medical doctors and nurse practitioners can now sign a medical certificate for family caregiver and compassionate care benefits to certify that a child is critically ill, rather than only specialist medical doctors.
Claimants can share these caregiver benefits either at the same time or separately, and receive their benefits when most needed within a 52-week period.
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]