One of the most difficult times for anyone is when a loved one is dying or at risk of death. The demands of caring for a gravely ill family member can jeopardize both employment and financial security. The Government of Canada believes that, during such times, Canadians should not have to choose between keeping their job and caring for their family.
Compassionate care benefits, provided through the Employment Insurance (EI) program, are available to individuals temporarily away from work to care for a sick family member with a significant risk of death. Our Conservative government is increasing the financial support for individuals taking care of family members facing a significant risk of death
Effective January 3, 2016, Economic Action Plan (EAP) 2015 will invest up to an additional $37 million annually to extend the duration of compassionate care benefits from the current six weeks to six months. The benefits can also be taken within an expanded period of 52 weeks (up from 26 weeks) and can be shared between family members.
Estimates suggest that up to 6,900 claimants per year could benefit from this enhanced measure. The enhancements being made to compassionate care benefits through EAP 2015 reaffirms our Government’s commitment to helping families receive the support they need as they care for loved ones across Canada and here in Crowfoot.
Eligibility for compassionate care benefits remains the same, including the requirement for a medical certificate signed by a doctor attesting to the family member’s condition. Self-employed Canadians can apply for EI special benefits if they are registered for access to the EI program.
This builds on our Government’s record of past legislation, such as the Helping Families in Need Act which allows parents to suspend the payment of their EI parental benefits if they become ill or are injured, and collect EI sickness benefits. This allows additional flexibility to claimants in receipt of EI compassionate care benefits or EI benefits for parents of critically ill children to convert to their EI sickness benefits if they become ill or are injured. They may resume collecting the balance of their parental benefits thereafter, if needed.
The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadian families. The changes we are making through Economic Action Plan 2015 will ensure that families are able to care for their loved ones. Through these enhancements, the Government is ensuring that the EI program continues to help Canadians when they need it most.