Employment Insurance: Extended parental benefit period for military families

As a Canadian Forces member (regular or reservist), you can receive the same benefits as other Canadians under the Employment Insurance Act as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. You are entitled to claim regular benefits, as well as maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits.

Eligibility details

The regular eligibility period during which you can claim EI parental benefits starts during the week of birth for a newborn, or the week a child is placed with you for adoption. This period continues for the 52 weeks that follow in the case of standard parental benefits, or for the 78 weeks that follow in the case of extended parental benefits.

You can claim up to 35 weeks of EI standard parental benefits within this 52-week eligibility period, or 61 weeks of extended parental benefits, within this 78-week eligibility period. An extra 5 weeks of standard, or 8 weeks of extended, parental benefits is available if you share benefits with the other parent(s). One parent cannot take more than 35 weeks of standard or 61 weeks of extended parental benefits.

To provide more flexibility for Canadian Forces members, either of these EI parental benefit eligibility periods can be extended up to a maximum of 104 weeks.

This extension is available to Canadian Forces members who cannot collect all their parental benefits during the regular eligibility period because of an imperative military requirement as confirmed by the Department of National Defence. The imperative military requirement can either defer or interrupt their parental leave.


  • Paul, a Canadian Forces member, is entitled to 61 weeks of EI extended parental benefits after the birth of his daughter. After 15 weeks of parental leave, however, Paul is recalled to duty because of an imperative military requirement, which lasts 20 weeks. If he had not been recalled to duty, he would have been entitled to receive EI extended parental benefits for those 20 weeks. Paul's eligibility period for EI parental benefits can be extended by the full 20 weeks after he returns from the imperative military requirement
  • Kyana is a Canadian Forces member who adopted a child on September 8, 2016. She requested 37 weeks of parental leave from the Department of National Defence, starting on December 4, 2016. However, on November 6, 2016, she had to leave for a mission on an imperative military requirement. As a result, she could not start her parental leave as planned. Her leave was deferred until the date that she returned, which was March 25, 2017. If Kyana's parental leave had not been deferred, she would have been entitled to EI standard parental benefits for those 16 weeks. Kyana's eligibility period for EI standard parental benefits can be extended by the full 16 weeks after she returns from the imperative military requirement

Other conditions you have to meet to take advantage of the extended eligibility period for EI parental benefits

As a Canadian Forces member, you have to:

  • formally request your EI parental leave from the Department of National Defence before you leave for the imperative military requirement, or
  • provide the dates you intended to take your EI parental leave, if you are already on the imperative military requirement

What you need before you start

When an imperative military requirement either defers or interrupts your EI parental leave, the Department of National Defence will complete a form called "PATA Extension – Imperative Military Requirement" and will give you a copy of the completed form.

To complete the online EI application, you will need the following personal information:

  • your social insurance number (SIN)
    • if your SIN begins with a 9, you will need to provide proof of your immigration status and work permit
  • the last name at birth of one of your parents
  • your mailing and residential addresses, including the postal codes—if you do not have a usual place of residence, you must apply in person at your local Service Canada Centre and
  • your complete banking information to sign up for direct deposit, including:
    • your financial institution name
    • your bank branch number
    • your account number

When you apply for EI parental benefits, you must provide:

  • the date of birth of your newborn or, in the case of an adoption, the date on which your child was placed with you (you must also provide the full name and address of the agency handling the adoption)
  • the SIN of the other parent, if you plan to share the benefits

After you apply

After you apply for EI parental benefits, you must then contact Service Canada at 1 800 206 7218 to provide the information contained in the completed PATA Extension—Imperative Military Requirement form.

Canadian Forces members living in Quebec

Canadian Forces members residing in Quebec will continue to collect parental benefits from the existing Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. For more information on the parental eligibility period, please contact the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

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