New five-week parental sharing to start in March 2019

News release

September 26, 2018                Toronto, Ontario             Employment and Social Development Canada

When women have equal opportunities to succeed, they are powerful agents of change—driving strong economic growth and improving the quality of life for their families and their communities. Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, helped mark the first-ever Gender Equality Week by announcing that the Government of Canada intends to launch the new parental sharing benefit on March 17, 2019. This is much earlier than planned and a big step towards promoting greater gender equality at home and in the workplace.

Originally anticipated for June 2019, this new measure will provide an additional five weeks of Employment Insurance parental benefits when parents—including adoptive and same-sex parents—agree to share parental benefits, or an additional eight weeks for those who choose the extended parental benefit option. Parents with children born or placed for adoption on or after March 17, 2019, will be eligible.

Implementing this measure three months sooner means that more than 24,000 additional parents could benefit from this measure.

As women make 85 percent of all parental claims and take longer leaves from the workplace, the Employment Insurance (EI) parental sharing measure is intended to promote greater gender equality by creating an incentive for all parents to take some leave when welcoming a new child and share the work of raising their children more equally.


“Providing women with equal economic opportunities will drive innovation and support middle class families. The new parental sharing benefit will give parents extra flexibility and encourage Canadians to share the work of raising their children more equally.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“Today’s announcement is an example of the progress we have made towards creating a more gender-equal Canada, while providing the opportunity to reflect on the fact that child care duties still fall disproportionately on mothers. Encouraging all parents to be engaged in full-time caregiving for their infants will help to create greater financial security for women and stronger bonds between fathers or second parents and their babies. On Gender Equality Week, the Parental Sharing Benefit is an excellent illustration of the way our government is working to advance gender equality both at home and in the workplace.
– The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women

Quick facts

  • With the EI parental sharing benefit, parents selecting the standard duration of parental benefits could receive up to 40 weeks of parental benefits, an increase from the current 35 weeks. Neither parent could access more than 35 weeks in total, requiring both parents to take some time off in order to access some or all of the additional weeks.

  • The sharing benefit would be available to eligible birth parents and adoptive parents, including both opposite-sex and same-sex parents.

  • Parents who qualify for EI would be eligible to access the sharing benefit based on:

    • the date of birth of their newborn child; or
    • the date that the child is placed with them for the purpose of adoption.

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Valérie Glazer
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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