Expanded parental leave to come into effect by end of year

The federal government will unveil the details of its long-promised changes to parental leave rules

New mothers and fathers who are poised to go on parental leave before the end of the year will be able to spread federal benefits over a longer period of more time starting next month.

The federal government will today unveil the details of its long-promised changes to parental leave rules that will allow eligible new parents to take up to 18 months of employment insurance benefits after the birth of a child.

Sources say the new rules will take effect next month, but the exact date will be disclosed later today by Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

On that date, a new family caregiver benefit will also kick in, and eligible soon-to-be-mothers will be allowed to claim maternity benefits up to 12 weeks before the baby is due.

However, the government isn’t expected to increase the actual value of employment insurance benefits for anyone who takes the extended parental leave. Instead, the Liberals will stick with their 2015 election promise: spreading 12 months’ worth of benefits over 18 months.

The change in leave rules will automatically give more the option of more time off for federally regulated workplaces, which include banks, transport companies, the public service and telecoms, and are likely to spur calls for changes to provincial labour laws to allow the other 92 per cent of Canadian workers access to similar leave.

Related: Minister Hajdu says longer leave not for all, but higher-paid moms need help too

Affected workplaces will have to decide how — or even if — to amend existing leave policies and collective agreements that spell out issues like salary top-ups.

As is, the federal parental leave program pays out benefits for up to 17 weeks for new mothers and allows parents to split an additional 35 weeks.

Under the changes first outlined in this year’s budget, new parents will decide when they apply for employment insurance benefits whether to take additional weeks off, which can be split between parents. Once either receives the first dollar of parental leave benefits, the choice is locked in.

Anyone on the 35 weeks of parental leave before the new measures officially come into effect won’t be able to switch and take off the extra time.

The Liberals budgeted $886 million over the next five years for the new measures, and $204.8 million a year after that.

All the parental leave changes won’t affect Quebec, which has its own parental leave program.

Related: Affordable daycare left out of BC NDP budget disappoints advocate

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gabrielle Clarke is an art therapist in Golden who works in mixed media art. Clarke’s art will be on display downtown at the Go-Lab. (Gabrielle Clarke photo)
Mixed media arts show comes to Go-Lab

Clarke’s art will be on display until Nov. 6

The view from Donald Bridge, looking east on Highway 1, about 28 km north of Golden at 11:50 a.m. Oct. 18. (DriveBC)
UPDATE: Expect delays on highway east of Revelstoke

A vehicle incident occurred near the Quartz Creek bridge

Advance voting is already underway in the 42nd general election in British Columbia. Election day is Oct. 24.(Black Press files photo)
QUIZ: Are you ready for the B.C. election?

Take this short test and see how much you know about elections and voting

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons.
MP Morrison responds to federal throne speech, pushes for rapid testing at airports

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian criticizes throne speech, wants COIVD-19 testing at borders, airports

Salmon Arm RCMP say residents have been receiving calls from fraudster claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP warn of Publishers Clearing House telephone scam

Police say scammer requests fee to claim sweepstakes prizes

Osoyoos Fire Department responded to reports of a vehicle engulfed in flames Sunday (Oct. 18) evening at a Lambert Court residence. (Osoyoos Fire Department)
Osoyoos Fire Department knock down car fire near home

Blaze was ‘really close’ to becoming a structure fire

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A file photo of an RCMP dog. (Campbell River RCMP photo)
Lawsuit claims Kelowna man suffered ‘vicious’ attack by RCMP dog, handler

Fernando Verde claims he was resuscitated at the hospital and needed emergency surgery following the attack

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Most Read