New five-week Employment Insurance parental sharing benefit one month away

News release

February 18, 2019                        Markham, Ontario                       Employment and Social Development Canada

Supporting parents and young families has always been a priority for the Government of Canada. That is why the Government will introduce the Employment Insurance parental sharing benefit.

Today, at the Armadale Community Centre, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced that in less than a month, soon-to-be parents will be eligible to receive extra weeks of parental benefits. In an effort to encourage more parents to share the work of raising their children more equally, the Government of Canada will launch the parental sharing benefit on March 17, 2019.

The new measure will be available to parents, including adoptive or same-sex parents, for a child born or placed for the purpose of adoption on or after March 17, 2019—as long as they are eligible for and share their Employment Insurance parental benefits. When parents agree to do so, they will benefit from one of the following:

  • 5 additional weeks of parental benefits when choosing the standard option; or
  • 8 additional weeks for those who choose the extended option

Corresponding changes to the Canada Labour Code will also be made to ensure that federally regulated private‑sector employees have the right to take leave while receiving the new parental sharing benefits without fear of losing their job.

Quotes

“As we’ve seen in Quebec, and in other jurisdictions that have implemented similar policies, this type of benefit has been proven to encourage a more balanced sharing of child care responsibilities. This new measure will help us break down barriers to gender equality by making it easier for mothers to return to work sooner if they wish, reducing the wage gap between women and men, and helping Canadians spend more time with their families.”

– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

‎“Modernizing parental leave will help more women participate in the economy while encouraging two-parent families to share in the responsibilities and joys of raising children. The families of Markham-Thornhill will benefit from more time spent with their children and all Canadians will benefit from yet another progressive policy that is making life easier for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”

– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, and Member of Parliament for Markham–Thornhill

Quick facts

  • Up to 97,000 Canadian parents are expected to claim the parental sharing benefit per year.

  • Since it was launched in December 2017, more than 32,000 parents established a claim for extended parental benefits, higher than the anticipated 20,000 claims per year.

  • In 2016-17, women represented 85 percent of all parental benefits claims made, indicating that child care duties continue to fall heavily on mothers.

  • In 2017, in large part due to the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, 81 percent of spouses or partners of recent mothers in Quebec claimed or intended to claim parental benefits, compared to only 12 percent in the rest of Canada.

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Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:

Valérie Glazer
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
819-654-5546


Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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