Parents and family caregivers will get help when they need it most

Effective Dec. 3, parents and family caregivers will receive more flexible, inclusive and easier access to the Employment Insurance Program.

Now, caregivers who care for a critically ill or injured adult family will have access to a new benefit for up to 15 weeks. For the first time, immediate and extended family members of children who are critically ill will have access to a new benefit that was previously available only to parents. This program will replace the Parents of Critically Ill Children benefit and will continue to provide up to 35 weeks of benefit.

To simplify the process, both medical doctors and nurse practitioners can sign medical certificates for the existing and new family caregiving benefits.

In terms of maternity and paternal benefits, parents will be able to choose between standard parental benefits (taken over 12 months) or extended parental benefits (taken over 18 months).

Eligible pregnant workers will be able to receive EI maternity benefits earlier, up to 12 weeks before their due date.

These changes will apply to EI-eligible workers, as well as self-employed Canadians who opt into the EI program for access to EI special benefits, and who meet minimum income and other requirements to qualify for EI special benefits.

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