Employers should be aware that effective as of October 29, 2014,
statutory leaves of absence in Ontario under the Employment
Standards Act, 2000 (the "ESA") will be expanded to
include the new "family caregiver leave",
"critically ill child care leave" and "crime-related
death and child disappearance leave". These leaves of
absence are in addition to the current Ontario "organ donor
leave", "family medical leave", "personal
emergency leave", "pregnancy leave", "parental
leave", "reservist leave" and "emergency leave
– declared emergencies". Details of the new leaves
of absence are as follows:
1. Family caregiver leave – Up to 8 weeks per year
can be taken in order to take care of a family member with a
serious medical condition.
2. Critically ill child care leave - Up to 37
weeks per year can be taken in order to care for a critically ill
child under the age of 18.
3. Crime-related child death and disappearance
leave - Up to 52 weeks can be taken if an employee's child
disappears and it is probable that the child disappeared
as the result of a crime. If a child dies as a result
of the crime, the leave period is increased to up to
Each of these leaves of absence are unpaid, and under each leave
time off can be taken by the employee in bits and pieces
rather than altogether. Employees using the critically ill
child care leave may be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits
for a portion of the leave; however guidance should be sought from
Service Canada, as the leave provisions do not match up precisely
with EI benefit eligibility.
As a reminder, the current statutory personal leaves of
absence which are already in place in Ontario are the
(i) Personal emergency leave – Up to 10 days of
leave per year to deal with a personal emergency, illness, injury
or urgent matter for oneself or a specified family member.
Personal emergency leave is only required in workplaces with 50 or
more employees in Ontario.
(ii) Family Medical Leave – Up to 8 weeks of leave
per year to provide care or support to certain family members for
whom a qualified health practitioner has issued a certificate
stating that the family member has a serious illness with a
significant risk of death occurring within a period of 26
(iii) Organ Donor Leave – Up to 13 weeks of leave
per year for those employees who have undergone surgery for
the purpose of organ donation.
(iv) Reservist Leave – Time off for reservists to
assist with international and domestic emergencies, for the period
of time required to assist with the operation.
In addition to the above leaves, all employers should be aware
of their obligations to provide pregnancy and parental leave under
Employers should review their employee handbooks prior to
October 29th in order to determine how the new leaves fit with
existing statutory and non-statutory leave entitlements.
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