Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 12 - Section 1

12.1.0 Authority

Maternity benefits are intended for mothers during pregnancy and for a specific period surrounding the birth of the child. The principle underlying the payment of these benefits under the current Employment Insurance (EI) program is that mothers should be provided with a level of protection from the loss of earnings caused by the physical inability to work or to seek work in the weeks surrounding the birth of a child.

Maternity benefits are therefore paid to the mother to compensate for a period of physical inability to work associated with pregnancy and childbirth. They are distinct from parental benefits, which that are paid to parents to provide actual care for a child.

The Québec Parental Insurance Plan applies to claims for benefits relating to a birth or adoption of a child, for parents residing in Quebec. The EI program applies to any claim relating to a birth or an adoption of a child for parents residing outside Quebec.

This does not mean, however, that maternity benefits under the EI program are not payable in Quebec or that the impact of the Québec Parental Insurance Plan is limited to Quebec Footnote 1 .

Among other rules, the principle of equivalence Footnote 2 between benefits paid under the Québec Parental Insurance Plan and the EI program guarantees equity in the processing of claims for EI benefits that are filed throughout Canada, including Quebec.

This principle, which bestows a recognition that is similar to maternity or parental benefits paid under the EI program, to benefits paid under a provincial plan, applies to new claim for EI benefits. Further details of the Québec Parental Insurance Plan can be found on the Service Canada website Footnote 3 .

12.1.1 Definition

In order to receive maternity benefits under the EI program, the claimant must show that she meets the qualifying and entitlement conditions for this type of benefits. These requirements will be explained as the chapter proceeds.

The legislative authority to pay maternity benefits reads as follows Footnote 4 :

"Notwithstanding section 18, but subject to this section, benefits are payable to a major attachment claimant who proves her pregnancy."

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