Sup­port for fam­i­lies with crit­i­cally ill loved ones

Asian Journal - - WORLD -

Sur­rey: On Wed­nes­day, mil­lions of Cana­di­ans pro­vide in­for­mal care and sup­port for se­ri­ously ill fam­ily mem­bers. That is why in Bud­get 2017 the Gov­ern­ment of Canada an­nounced a com­mit­ment to sup­port fam­ily care­givers with Em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance ben­e­fits that are more flex­i­ble, in­clu­sive and eas­ier to ac­cess.

As part of this com­mit­ment, the Gov­ern­ment of Canada moved for­ward with the fol­low­ing im­prove­ments to the Em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance (EI) pro­gram in or­der to bet­ter sup­port work­ers who take time off work due to spe­cific life events:

• Fam­ily care­giver ben­e­fit: 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 the new fam­ily care­giver ben­e­fit for chil­dren 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. • Com­pas­sion­ate care ben­e­fit: The com­pas­sion­ate care ben­e­fit con­tin­ues to be avail­able to care­givers and pro­vides up to 26 weeks of EI sup­port to care for or sup­port a fam­ily mem­ber at end-of-life. • Ma­ter­nity ben­e­fits: El­i­gi­ble preg­nant work­ers are able to re­ceive EI ma­ter­nity ben­e­fits ear­lier, up to 12 weeks be­fore their due date. This in­creased flex­i­bil­ity al­lows preg­nant work­ers to con­sider their per­sonal, health and work­place cir­cum­stances when choos­ing when to be­gin their ma­ter­nity leave.

• Parental ben­e­fits: Par­ents are able to choose the parental leave op­tion that best meets their fam­ily’s care­giv­ing needs: stan­dard parental ben­e­fits (taken over 12 months) or ex­tended parental ben­e­fits (taken over 18 months).

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.

Jean-yves Du­c­los, Min­is­ter of Fam­i­lies, Chil­dren and So­cial De­vel­op­ment said: “Ev­ery Cana­dian’s sit­u­a­tion is unique. By mak­ing EI care­giv­ing, ma­ter­nity and parental ben­e­fits and leaves more flex­i­ble, in­clu­sive and eas­ier to ac­cess, we are pro­vid­ing hard-work­ing mid­dle-class Cana­dian fam­i­lies with more op­tions to bet­ter bal­ance their work and life re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.”

Quick facts:

• Since De­cem­ber 3, 2017, over 8,300 claims have been es­tab­lished for care­giv­ing ben­e­fits for adults and chil­dren.

• It is es­ti­mated that ap­prox­i­mately 22,000 claims will be es­tab­lished for the new EI care­giv­ing ben­e­fits by fall 2019.

• As of Septem­ber 2018, over 22,000 par­ents have cho­sen the ex­tended parental ben­e­fit op­tion since it be­gan in De­cem­ber 2017.

• In 2016–17, there were ap­prox­i­mately:

• 170,000 ma­ter­nity claims that were paid $1.1 bil­lion in ben­e­fits; and

• 196,000 parental claims that were paid $2.7 bil­lion in ben­e­fits, of which 85 per­cent of claims were by women and 15 per­cent were by men.

Jean-yves Du­c­los

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