News Release Article from  Employment and Social Development Canada

Government of Canada increases duration of Employment Insurance compassionate care benefit

January 4, 2016                        Gatineau, Quebec         Employment and Social Development Canada

The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, today highlighted  the coming into force of a previously announced increase in the duration of the Employment Insurance (EI) compassionate care benefit, which will provide additional financial security to Canadian workers and their families in times of need.

The Minister also said today that the Government will work towards providing more generous leave for caregivers in the future. The Government has committed to making the compassionate care benefit more flexible, easier to access and more inclusive, she said.

Compassionate care benefits provide temporary income support to eligible individuals who must be away from work to provide care for a gravely ill family member at risk of death.

Effective January 3, 2016, the enhanced benefit, announced in 2015, allows claimants to collect up to 26 weeks of benefits, up from the current 6 weeks. Further, the period during which benefits can be taken is expanded to 52 weeks (up from 26 weeks). Benefits can be shared between family members.

Eligibility for compassionate care benefits remains the same, including the requirement for a medical certificate signed by a doctor attesting to the family member’s condition.

Corresponding changes to the Canada Labour Code will come into force at the same time to ensure that the jobs of employees in federally regulated enterprises remain protected while they avail themselves of compassionate care benefits under the EI program.

Quick Facts  

  • It is estimated that up to 6,900 claimants per year could benefit from the enhanced measure that will take effect in January 2016. 
  • In 2013–14, program costs for the current compassionate care benefit amounted to $12 million. An additional $37 million is being added annually to extend the duration of the compassionate care benefit over and above the current program costs.
  • The measure will have a negligible impact on the EI premium rate. 

Quote

“I am glad to announce the coming into force of an increase in the duration of the compassionate care benefit. Going forward, we have pledged to work toward giving Canadians more support by making this benefit more flexible, easier to access and more inclusive.”

– The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Associated Link

To learn more about compassionate care benefits, please visit: www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/ei/types/compassionate_care.shtml 

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Backgrounder


Increased duration of the Employment Insurance compassionate care benefit

Changes will be implemented on January 3, 2016, that will allow claimants who are temporarily away from work to take care of a family member with a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death to benefit from an increase in the maximum number of weeks for which Employment Insurance (EI) compassionate care benefits may be paid, from 6 to 26 weeks.

Currently, up to six weeks of compassionate care benefits are provided for the care of a family member with a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks. The changes mean an increase in the maximum number of weeks of benefit entitlement for compassionate care benefits up to 26 weeks. Compassionate care benefits may be taken in the 52-week period (up from a 26-week period) that begins when the medical certificate is issued or when the medical doctor certifies the family member’s condition. 

This measure will not be available retroactively; however, there will be transitional provisions. For example, if a claimant is in receipt of compassionate care benefits at the time of coming into force, then that claimant could benefit from the new provisions. 

This also means that if other EI-eligible individuals wish to share benefits with an existing claimant, but had not yet submitted a claim themselves, they may also benefit from the new provisions. 

Any additional weeks of benefits can only be paid for weeks that begin on or after the measure comes into effect. 


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