Extra weeks of Employment Insurance parental benefits available March 17

News release

Up to 97,000 Canadian families are expected to claim the parental sharing benefit per year

March 15, 2019                        Cambridge, 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 Grow Community Centre, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced that in two days, 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:

  • five additional weeks of parental benefits when choosing the standard option; or
  • eight 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 parental sharing benefit without fear of losing their job.


“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 shifting cultural attitudes against men taking parental leave, and will help Canadians spend more time with their families.”

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

“The introduction of the new five-week parental sharing benefit is welcome news for Canadian families. This additional leave will encourage all parents to be engaged in full-time caregiving for their infants, helping to create greater financial security for women, and stronger bonds between fathers or second parents and their babies. By encouraging a more equitable distribution of child care within the home, this new parental leave benefit gives families more flexible child care options and advances gender equality both at home and in the workplace.”

– The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality

‎‎“I believe that with this benefit parents will be able to spend more quality time caring for their children as well as sharing the work of raising them. Ultimately, these changes will result in more women in our work force and stronger bonds between children and their parents.”

– Marwan Tabbara, Member of Parliament for Kitchener South–Hespeler

“We are so pleased to host the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, at our Grow Community Centre to make such an important announcement. Our vision at Langs is ‘Changed Lives, Healthy Communities’ because we know that investments that support parents and children strengthen families and the well‑being of communities across Canada.”

– Bill Davidson, Executive Director at Langs

Quick facts

  • In 2016–17, women represented 85 percent of all parental benefit 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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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

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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