Caregiving benefits and leave: What caregiving benefits offer

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From: Employment and Social Development Canada

1. What caregiving benefits offer

Through Employment Insurance, you could receive financial assistance of up to 55% of your earnings, to a maximum of $547 a week. These benefits will help you take time away from work to provide care or support to a critically ill or injured person or someone needing end-of-life care.

As a caregiver, you don’t have to be related to or live with the person you care for or support, but they must consider you to be like family.

The three types of caregiving benefits
Benefit name Maximum weeks payable Who you are providing care to 
Family caregiver benefit for children up to 35 weeks A critically ill or injured person under 18
Family caregiver benefit for adults up to 15 weeks A critically ill or injured person 18 or over
Compassionate care benefits up to 26 weeks A person of any age who requires end-of-life care

You can receive benefits during the 52 weeks following the date the person is certified by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner to be critically ill or injured or in need of end-of-life care. You can take the weeks of benefits within this timeframe either all at once or in separate periods.

The weeks of benefits can be shared by eligible caregivers, either at the same time or one after another.

Definitions

Caregiver

A caregiver is a family member or someone who is considered to be like family providing care or support to the person who is critically ill or injured or needing end-of-life care.

Family member

A family member includes immediate family as well as other relatives and individuals considered to be like family, whether or not related by marriage, common-law partnership, or any legal parent-child relationship.

Care or support

Care is defined as participating in the care of a critically ill or injured person or someone needing end-of-life care.

Support is defined as providing psychological or emotional support to a critically ill or injured person or someone needing end-of-life care.

Critically ill or injured person

A critically ill or injured person is someone whose baseline state of health has changed significantly because of illness or injury. As a result, their life is at risk and they need the care or support of at least one caregiver. Their condition must be certified by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner.

If the person is already living with a chronic medical condition, caregivers are not eligible for benefits unless the person’s health changes significantly because of a new and acute life-threatening event.

End-of-life care

End-of-life care is defined as providing care or support to a person who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks (6 months).

The person also requires the care or support of at least one caregiver. Their condition must be certified by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner.

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