Canada: Federal Government Announces Expansion Of Parental Benefits And Other Leave-Related Changes Under EI

On November 9, 2017, the federal government announced changes to the rules surrounding maternity and parental benefits and provided details about new caregiving benefits under the Employment Insurance Act. These changes are set to come into effect as of December 3, 2017.

a) Extension of EI Parental Benefits

New parents who are eligible for employment insurance ("EI") parental benefits will also soon have the option to receive such payments for up to 61 weeks after a child is born or adopted, which is an extension of 26 weeks, to be divided between the parents as they choose. These changes will not increase the total dollar value of EI parental benefits, nor do they affect the existing eligibility requirements. Rather, the new option allows for repackaging EI parental benefits over a longer period — eligible parents can choose to receive 33 per cent of average weekly earnings over the extended 18-month period instead of the current payments which represent 55 per cent of average weekly earnings paid over a 35-week benefit period, subject to maximum weekly payment levels set annually by the federal government.

The federal government, as part of its June 22, 2017 budget bill, passed amendments to the Canada Labour Code earlier this year to extend the maximum length of parental leave to 63 weeks, which may be divided between two workers. These amendments to the Canada Labour Code come into force on December 3, 2017, to coincide with the extended EI option for new parents. In anticipation of the federal EI benefit program's new options surrounding parental leave, Ontario's Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, also contains amendments that would extend parental leave under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 from 35 weeks to 61 weeks for employees who have also taken pregnancy leave, and from 37 weeks to 63 weeks for those who are taking only parental leave. If Ontario's Bill 148 is passed, this means that an employee could take a combined maternity and parental leave of a total of 78 weeks (up from the current 52 week maximum), and would have the option of receiving any EI parental benefits for which they are eligible, but at a lower rate, over the extended leave period.

In Alberta, the Employment Standards Code was amended earlier in 2017, introducing changes to maternity, parental and family caregiver type leave provisions, which come into effect on January 1, 2018. These will include the following leave periods:

  • Maternity Leave: 16 weeks commencing any time during the 12 weeks before the estimated delivery date;
  • Parental Leave: up to 37 weeks;
  • Compassionate Care Leave: up to 27 weeks; and
  • Critical Illness of Child Leave: up to 36 weeks.

As of this writing, the Alberta government has not introduced any further changes to the above leave periods to coincide with the extension of the time periods during which an eligible employee could draw on employment insurance benefits.

Employees in Québec will continue to receive maternity, parental and adoption benefits, as well as a paternity benefit under the Québec Parental Insurance Plan, which will not be affected by the federal government's announced changes.

In other provinces, employment standards legislation sets out parental leave periods at a lower level than those proposed for Ontario by Bill 148, and it remains to be seen whether changes to minimum entitlements in these provinces will be made in response to the federal government's changes to EI parental benefits.

b) Earlier access to EI Maternity Benefits

Under these changes, eligible employees will be able to receive earlier access to maternity benefits. Current rules allowing employees to claim EI maternity benefits up to 8 weeks prior to the expected date of birth will be amended to allow applications for maternity benefits as early as 12 weeks before the expected date. EI maternity benefits will remain at their current level — 15 weeks at 55 per cent of average weekly earnings (to a maximum of $543/week) — but will be accessible by eligible employees from up to 12 weeks before birth to 17 weeks after.

c) New EI Family Caregiver Benefits

New EI caregiving benefits have also been introduced, expanding support provided by the EI program to eligible employees who take time away from work to provide care for sick or injured family members in certain circumstances. These benefits include: (i) Up to 15 weeks' Family Caregiver benefit for adults to be provided to workers who leave work to care for or support an adult family member who is critically ill or injured, which may be shared by eligible family members over a one-year period; and (ii) Up to 35 weeks' Family Caregiver benefit for children to be provided to workers who leave work to care for or support a critically ill child. Each of these new benefits may be combined with the existing Compassionate Care benefit, which provides a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits.

Employers across Canada will need to review and revise existing leave policies, including any policies to top-up salaries or provide supplemental benefits, in order to ensure they accurately reflect the changes to the law and the employer's intended policy for employees.

About BLG

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Lawson Lundell LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Lawson Lundell LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions