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Government of Canada increases duration of Employment Insurance compassionate care benefit

Claimants can now collect up to 26 weeks of benefits, up from 6 weeks.

Excerpted from Government of Canada Press Release

January 4, 2016 – The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, today highlighted  the coming into force of a previously announced increase in the duration of the Employment Insurance (EI) compassionate care benefit, which will provide additional financial security to Canadian workers and their families in times of need.

The Minister also said today that the Government will work towards providing more generous leave for caregivers in the future. The Government has committed to making the compassionate care benefit more flexible, easier to access and more inclusive, she said.

Compassionate care benefits provide temporary income support to eligible individuals who must be away from work to provide care for a gravely ill family member at risk of death.

Effective January 3, 2016, the enhanced benefit, announced in 2015, allows claimants to collect up to 26 weeks of benefits, up from the current 6 weeks. Further, the period during which benefits can be taken is expanded to 52 weeks (up from 26 weeks). Benefits can be shared between family members.

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.

Corresponding changes to the Canada Labour Code will come into force at the same time to ensure that the jobs of employees in federally regulated enterprises remain protected while they avail themselves of compassionate care benefits under the EI program.


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