EI maternity and parental benefits: Special circumstances

Special circumstances

Below are some special circumstances that may impact you. Contact Service Canada for advice on your specific situation.

Changing your planned number of weeks

You can't change between standard and extended parental benefit options once benefits have been paid. That said, you can change the number of weeks you take as long as you don't go over the maximum for the option you chose.

Non-consecutive parental leave

If you're taking parental leave at different times during the eligibility period, you must submit an application each time you plan to receive parental benefits. If you have an existing claim, we'll reactivate it or you could start a new claim.

Health complications during pregnancy

You could be eligible for sickness benefits or for maternity benefits earlier. You must meet the conditions for each benefit.

Health complications for your child

If your child is hospitalized, your eligibility period for maternity or parental benefits could be extended. You may be eligible for other benefits. This could include caregiving benefits if your child becomes critically ill or injured. You must meet the conditions for each benefit.

Miscarriage, termination or stillbirth

If you're reading this following a loss, please accept our condolences.

If your pregnancy ends before week 20, you could receive sickness benefits.

If your pregnancy ends in week 20 or later, you could receive maternity benefits.

Parental benefits are not available.

Death of a child

If you're reading this following the loss of your child, please accept our condolences.

You should know that you're still entitled to up to 15 weeks of maternity benefits. However, parental benefits are not available. If the loss occurs while parental benefits are being paid, parents are no longer eligible as of the week following the loss. You may be eligible for other benefits.

Please inform us as soon as possible so we can update your file and make any necessary adjustments.

Your child is not legally adoptable

If your child is not legally adoptable at the time they're placed with you, benefits can be paid from the date you demonstrate that:

  • you consider the placement to be permanent, and
  • your intent is to adopt
Multiple birth

The number of weeks of maternity and parental benefits you can get doesn't change if you have a multiple birth (twins, triplets, etc.). This is also the case if you adopt more than 1 child at the same time.


Maternity benefits are available to people who are away from work because they're pregnant or have recently given birth, including surrogates. Parental benefits are not available to surrogates.

Canadian Forces member

If you're a Canadian Forces member (regular or reservist) who must defer or interrupt your parental leave because of an imperative military requirement, your eligibility period for parental benefits could be extended.

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