Compassionate Care leave – 808-1-IPG-063

Starting September 1, 2020, interns and student interns in federally regulated industries or workplaces are entitled to the following:

  • Interns:
    • entitled to receive full labour standards protections, under Part III of the Canada Labour Code
    • must be paid at least minimum wage
  • Student interns, who are undertaking internships to fulfill the requirements of their educational program:
    • entitled to receive certain federal labour standards protections
    • not required to be paid

For more information:

Disclaimer: This page has been prepared for reference only.

Effective Date: September 1, 2019

1. Subject

This IPG is intended to clarify and provide guidance on the application of section 206.3 of Part III of the Canada Labour Code (Code) dealing with Compassionate Care leave.

2. Issue

There is a need to describe how Compassionate Care leave is related to:

  1. Leave related to critical illness, and
  2. Bereavement leave.

3. Guiding principles

a. Compassionate Care leave and Leave related to critical illness

The length of leave is calculated using weeks. A "week" is defined as the period between midnight on Saturday and midnight on the immediately following Saturday.

In a 52-week period and in relation to each family member for whom care and support is provided, an employee may take or more than one employee may share a maximum unpaid leave as follows:

  1. Compassionate Care leave: 28 weeks.
  2. Leave related to critical illness of a child: 37 weeks.
  3. Leave related to critical illness of an adult: 17 weeks.

Where more than one employee is taking the same leave in relation to the same family member, each employee can take leave at any time during the 52-week period, either at the same time or at different times. Their combined periods of leave may not exceed the maximum periods provided under the Code (see paragraph above). For example, if two employees are taking Compassionate Care leave, their combined periods of leave may not exceed a total of 28 weeks in the 52-week period.

Where more than one employee wants to take a leave in relation to the same family member, they cannot take Compassionate Care leave at the same time as a Leave related to critical illness of a child or an adult.

b. Compassionate Care leave and Bereavement leave

Upon the death of a family member, an employee is entitled to bereavement leave of up to five days which may be taken during the period beginning on the date of death and ending six weeks after the date of the next of funeral, burial or memorial service, whichever is later.

If the employee has completed three months of continuous employment with the same employer he is entitled to the first three days paid. If not, he is entitled to an unpaid leave of five days. In the case of Compassionate Care leave and bereavement leave, an employee cannot take these leaves at the same time. As a consequence, the employee must wait until the end of the week of the compassionate care leave and then start the bereavement leave on the following Sunday.

4. Description of the leaves

Division VII of the Code provides employees under federal jurisdiction with leaves which the purposes, length, eligibility criteria and individuals with respect to whom they can be taken vary.

An employee may be entitled to more than one leave for the same event. Each leave is separate and the right to each leave is independent of any right an employee may have to the other leave(s).

The following table describes Compassionate Care leave, Leave related to critical illness and Bereavement leave.

- Compassionate Care leave Leave related to critical illness Bereavement leave
Child Adult
Eligibility period No No

Requirement to complete six consecutive months of continuous employment.
No
Paid leave No No No Yes

Requirement to complete three consecutive months of continuous employment.
Individual with respect to whom the leave can be taken must be a family member Yes Yes Yes Yes

Leave must be taken for an immediate family member who dies.
Length of leave within a 52-week period 28 weeks 37 weeks 17 weeks Not applicable
Leave must be taken in one period No Yes Yes No

Leave can be taken in one or two periods. The employer may ask for these periods to be not less than a day.
Leave can be divided in many periods of not less than one week's duration Yes Yes Yes Not applicable
Leave can be shared between one or more employees in respect of the same family member Yes Yes Yes No
Certificate issued by the medical doctor or nurse practitioner is required Yes Yes Yes Not applicable
Medical certificate is valid for the 52-week period Yes Yes Yes Not applicable
Written notice to the employer must contain reason(s) and length of leave Yes Yes Yes Not applicable
Four weeks' notice must be provided to the employer if the leave is more than four weeks Yes Yes Yes Not applicable
Under the employees request, the employer can extend the period to take the leave. A written agreement is required n.a. n.a. n.a. Yes

5. Questions

  1. How does Compassionate Care leave work if the employee is taking Leave related to critical illness?
  2. How does Compassionate Care leave work if the immediate family member dies during the leave period?

6. Responses

a. How does Compassionate Care leave work if the employee is taking leave related to critical illness?

Paragraphs 206.3(7), 206.4(5) and 207.01 of the Code provides that, in a 52-week period, Compassionate Care leave and Leave related to critical illness can be:

  • shared between one or more employees (for the maximum combined leave periods, see Section 3 – Guiding Principles)
  • divided in many periods of not less than one week's duration, and
  • taken in one consecutive period

Employees are neither required to, nor prevented from, taking their leave at the same time. However, subsection 206.3(7.1) of the Code provides two circumstances in which these leaves cannot be taken at the same time.

Firstly, an employee alone cannot take Compassionate Care leave and Leave related to critical illness at the same time in respect of the same family member. If the employee is eligible to take Compassionate Care leave, the employee must wait for the Leave related to critical illness to end first.

Secondly, more than one employee can share a Leave related to critical illness in respect of the same family member. If these employees are eligible to take Compassionate Care leave for the family member, they must wait until the Leave related to critical illness of all employees ends before starting the other leave.

Appendix A, Section I provides a scenario.

b. How does Compassionate Care leave work if the immediate family member dies during the leave period?

The Code provides that an employee is eligible to take Bereavement leave.

However, Bereavement leave and Compassionate Care leave cannot be taken at the same time as an employee cannot be absent from employment for the purposes of two different leaves at the same time in respect of the same family member. In the event that the immediate family member dies during the Compassionate Care leave period, the employee must wait until the leave ends before taking Bereavement leave.

Appendix A, Section II provides scenarios.

Appendix A

The following scenarios provide guidance on the application of Compassionate Care leave, Leave related to critical illness and Bereavement leave. While each application should be assessed on a case by case basis, length of service and statutory requirements are deemed to be in compliance with the Code.

Legend:

  • BL – Bereavement leave
  • CC – Compassionate Care leave
  • CI – Leave related to critical illness
  • Med. Cert. – Medical Certificate
  • R – Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code
  • Sch – Schedule
  • W – Day of regularly scheduled work

Section I: Compassionate Care leave and Leave related to critical illness

Scenario 1

Week 1: Parent 1 and Parent 2 have a five-year-old child who is suffering from a critical illness. On Monday, the medical doctor issues a medical certificate stating that the child is critically ill and requires care and support.

Both parents are eligible to take Leave related to critical illness. Although both parents can take this leave separately, they decide to take their leave at the same time by dividing the 37 weeks. Parent 1 takes 18 weeks and Parent 2 takes 19 weeks.

Week 19: This is Parent 2 last week of Leave related to critical illness. The child’s condition has deteriorated. On Tuesday, the nurse practitioner issues a medical certificate stating that the child is seriously ill and there is a risk of death within 26 weeks. Parent 1 wants to take Compassionate Care leave. For this purpose, Parent 1 must wait until Sunday at midnight when Parent’s 2 Leave related to critical illness ends to be entitled to take Compassionate Care leave since both leaves cannot be taken at the same time for the same child.

Week 20: Parent 1 takes Compassionate Care leave.

Week 46: Parent 1 has been on Compassionate Care leave for 26 consecutive weeks and the child remains seriously ill. Parent 1 wants to take the remaining two weeks of Compassionate Care leave. Since the medical certificate is valid for the entire 52-week period, Parent 1 can take the remaining two weeks without additional proof of eligibility.

However, Parent 1 does need to comply with the notification requirements (see table in Section 4 – Description of the leaves).

Section I: Scenario 1

Week 1
Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Schedule Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code
Event n/a Medical certificate n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Parent 1 Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness
Parent 2 Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness
Week 2 to 17
Schedule Event Parent 1 Parent 2
n/a n/a Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness
Week 18
Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Schedule Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code
Event n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Parent 1 Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness
Parent 2 Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness
Week 19
Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Schedule Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code
Event n/a n/a Medical certificate n/a n/a n/a n/a
Parent 1 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Parent 2 Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness
Week 20
Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Schedule Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code
Event n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Parent 1 Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness
Parent 2 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Week 21 to 45
Schedule Event Parent 1 Parent 2
n/a n/a Leave related to critical illness n/a
Week 46
Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Schedule Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code
Event n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Parent 1 Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness
Parent 2 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Week 47
Schedule Event Parent 1 Parent 2
n/a n/a Leave related to critical illness n/a
Week 48
Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Schedule Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Day of regularly scheduled work Regularly scheduled day of rest, as per section 173 of the Code
Event n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Parent 1 Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness Leave related to critical illness
Parent 2 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
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: