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                        Burlington, 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 WOMB (World of My Baby) in Burlington, 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

“Providing women with equal economic opportunities will drive innovation and support middle-class families. Today’s announcement shows 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.”
– The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions and Member of Parliament for Burlington

‎‎‎“The introduction of a ‘use it or lose it’ shared parental leave system is a huge victory for gender equality and for families across the country. As the former Vice-Chair of the Status of Women Committee, I was proud to see the Government introduce this key recommendation found in our report on the Economic Security of Women in Canada. It will lead to a more equitable sharing of unpaid care responsibilities. When all parents are incentivized to take leave to support their families, women will no longer be penalized for taking the leave they are entitled to. Shared parental leave results in more professional opportunities for women, greater labour market participation rates and improved access to senior positions. Simply put, shared parental leave is good for families and the economy.”
– Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North–Burlington and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

“The WOMB is a sacred, loving space for the whole family to be fully supported, nourished and nurtured in our community. We are sure that this new parental sharing benefit will provide even more opportunities for families to actively participate in creating strong family bonds. We welcome and look forward to seeing more involvement with both parents, when applicable, in our offerings at The WOMB.”
– Lorri Fleming, Co-Founder/Director, The WOMB – World of My Baby

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.

Related products

Associated links


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
Follow us on Twitter

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: