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Details on Employment Insurance reforms announced

The federal government has provided details of a number of measures they announced in the 2017 Budget relating to Employment Insurance (EI), including the new option for parents to take 18 months of parental leave, rather than 12.

The changes will come into effect on December 3, 2017, and include:

  • Caregivers who provide care to a critically ill or injured adult family member will have access to a new Family Caregiver benefit for adults of up to 15 weeks. This will help more Canadians 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).
  • Immediate and extended family members of children who are critically ill will, for the first time, have access to a new Family Caregiver benefit for children that was previously available only to parents. It will replace the Parents of Critically Ill Children benefit and continue to provide up to 35 weeks of benefits. Claimants can share these Family Caregiver benefits either concurrently or separately, and receive their benefits when most needed within a 52-week period.
  • Both medical doctors and nurse practitioners will now be able to sign medical certificates for the existing and new family caregiving benefits, which will simplify the process.
  • Parents will be able to choose the option that best meets their family‚Äôs needs: standard parental benefits (taken over 12 months at a rate of 55% of average weekly earnings) or extended parental benefits (taken over 18 months at a rate of 33% of average weekly earnings).
  • Eligible pregnant workers will be able to receive EI maternity benefits earlier, up to 12 weeks (from the current 8 weeks) before their due date. This increased flexibility will allow pregnant workers to consider their personal, health, and workplace circumstances when choosing when to begin their maternity leave.

Employment and Social Development Canada has produced a backgrounder on these reforms that provide additional information –

Backgrounder on EI changes