Notably, these leaves of absence will be in addition to
"Family Medical Leave" (available when an employee's
family member has a serious medical condition with a significant
risk of death occurring within 26 weeks), as well as "personal
The following presents a brief summary of these new leaves:
Family Caregiver Leave
Employees that need to provide care and support to a family
member with a serious medical condition (which includes a chronic
or episodic condition), albeit one without a significant risk of
death within 26 weeks, will be entitled to up to 8 weeks of unpaid
leave per calendar year. A "family member" is defined
a parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the
a child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the
a grand-parent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild
of the employee or the employee's spouse;
the spouse of a child of the employee;
the employee's brother or sister;
a relative of the employee who is dependent on the employee for
care or assistance; and
any individual prescribed as a family member.
If requested by the employer, an employee must provide a
certificate issued by a qualified health practitioner stating that
the family member has such a serious medical condition.
Requests for this leave must be presented to the employer in
writing. Employees are not required to take this leave in full week
Critically Ill Child Care Leave
Individuals that have been employed for at least 6 consecutive
months will be entitled to up to 37 weeks of unpaid leave to
provide care or support to their critically ill child. Similar to
"family caregiver leave," employees will not be required
to take this leave in periods of entire weeks.
Notably, since Bill 21 was originally proposed, the definition
of "critically ill child" has been modified to refer to a
child, "whose baseline state of health has significantly
changed and whose life is at risk as a result of an illness or
injury." A "child" is broadly defined as a
"child, step-child, foster child or child who is under legal
guardianship and who is under 18 years of age."
Employers must be advised of an employee's intention to take
this leave in writing, and a medical certificate attesting to the
illness of the child and outlining the period during which the
child requires care or support must be issued by a qualified health
practitioner and provided to the employer.
Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance Leave
With respect to "crime-related death and disappearance
leave," employees who have been employed for at least 6
consecutive months and are parents to a child who disappeared as a
result of a crime will be entitled to up to 52 weeks of unpaid
leave. Where it is probable, considering the circumstances, that an
employee's child died as a result of a crime, the employee will
be entitled to 104 weeks of unpaid leave. For the purposes of this
leave, a "child" is defined as a, "child, step-child
or foster child less than 18 years of age" and a
"crime" is "an offence under the Criminal Code,
other than an excluded offence as prescribed by the regulations
made under paragraph 209.4(f) of Canada Labour Code." Where the employee is
charged with the crime, or where it is probable, considering the
circumstances, that the child was a party to the crime, the
employee will not be entitled to the leave.
An employee who wishes to take this leave must advise his or her
employer in writing and provide a written plan that indicates the
weeks that will constitute the absence. This leave may be taken in
a single period.
As the ESA currently only provides for "family medical
leave" as well as 10 days of unpaid "personal emergency
leave," the above-outlined leaves will significantly expand
potential family-related leave entitlements under the ESA.
Employers should mark October 29, 2014 on their calendars and
ensure they are ready and prepared to respond to leave requests
under these new provisions.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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