Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 23 - Section 1
In January 2004, the Employment Insurance (EI) legislation introduced compassionate care benefitsFootnote 1. These benefits allow an eligible claimant to receive income support while absent from work to provide care or support for a family memberFootnote 2 with a serious medical condition and a significant risk of death within 26 weeks. Individuals are not required to be available for work to receive this type of benefitsFootnote 3. The EI legislation has been updated effective January 3, 2016, to increase the maximum number of weeks of compassionate care benefits that may be paid, and the length of the window during which these benefits may be payable.
The legislation provides for the payment of a maximum of 26 weeks of compassionate care benefitsFootnote 4 within a 52 week window, whether they are paid to one family member, or shared between family members. A claimant can only receive a maximum of 26 weeks of compassionate care benefits per benefit periodFootnote 5.
The Act provides for the making of regulations to further define and determine what is care or supportFootnote 6; who can issue a medical certificateFootnote 7; in which situations a shorter period than 52 weeks appliesFootnote 8; when a waiting period can be deferredFootnote 9; and prescribing rules when family members do not agree on the division of weeks of benefitsFootnote 10.
Throughout this chapter, for ease of reference, the expression "gravely ill family member", or patient, is used to describe a family member who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks.
The legislative authority to pay compassionate care benefits reads as follows:Footnote 11
Notwithstanding Section 18, but subject to this section, benefits are payable to a major attachment claimant if a medical doctor has issued a certificate stating that
- a family member of the claimant has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks
- from the day the certificate is issued,
- in the case of a claim that is made before the day the certificate is issued, from the day from which the medical doctor certifies the family member's medical condition, or
- in the case of a claim that is regarded to have been made on an earlier day under subsection 10(4) or (5), from that earlier day; and
- the family member requires the care or support of one or more other family members.
[ January 2006 ]
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