Extra weeks of Employment insurance parental benefits available March 17

The federal government will introduce the Employment Insurance parental sharing benefit tomorrow.

Ottawa announced yesterday that as of Sunday, soon-to-be parents will be eligible to receive extra weeks of parental benefits, in an effort to encourage more parents to share the work of raising their children more equally.

Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, says "By encouraging a more equitable distribution of child care within the home, this new parental leave benefit gives families more flexible child care options and advances gender equality both at home and in the workplace."

According to a press release, the new measures will be available to parents, including adoptive or same-sex parents, for a child born or placed for the purpose of adoption on or after March 17, 2019, as long as they are eligible for and share their Employment Insurance parental benefits.

When parents agree to do so, they will benefit from one of the following:
- five additional weeks of parental benefits when choosing the standard option; or
- eight additional weeks for those who chose the extended option.

The government says corresponding changes to the Canada Labour Code will also be made to ensure that federally regulated private-sector employees have the right to take leave while receiving the parental sharing benefit without fear of losing their job.