OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 12/14/12 -- The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, is pleased to announce that the Helping Families in Need Act has received Royal Assent.
"Through the Helping Families in Need Act, we are supporting hardworking Canadian families when they need it most," said Minister Finley. "These new support measures will help relieve the financial pressure on families during difficult times and make a real difference in their lives when they most need it."
The Helping Families in Need Act includes a new provision under the Employment Insurance Act that will make parents eligible for sickness benefits should they fall ill while collecting parental benefits. This new measure will benefit approximately 6 000 Canadians per year.
The Bill also creates the new Employment Insurance (EI) benefit for parents of critically ill or injured children and amends the Canada Labour Code to protect the jobs of parents who take a leave of absence to care for a critically ill child.
Finally, the Bill also amends the Canada Labour Code to allow for unpaid leave and to protect the jobs of parents whose child dies or disappears as a result of a probable Criminal Code offence. These amendments support a new federal income support grant for parents who take a leave of absence to cope with such a situation.
These new measures expand on and complement other Government of Canada supports for parents:
-- Foster parents who have committed to adopting foster children in their care have earlier access to parental benefits.-- Self-employed persons can opt into the EI program to receive maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits.-- Military families have improved access to EI parental benefits: Members of the Canadian Forces who are ordered to return to duty while on parental leave or whose parental leave is deferred now have a window of up to 104 weeks following their child's birth or adoption in which to access part or all of their 35 weeks of EI parental benefits.-- Eligibility for the compassionate care benefit was extended to include additional family members and others considered as "family" by the person who is gravely ill.-- The Government also provides assistance to parents through the Canada Child Tax Benefit and the Universal Child Care Benefit.
This news release is available in alternative formats on request.
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The Helping Families in Need Act was introduced in the House of Commons on September 20, 2012, by the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. It received Royal Assent on December 14, 2012.
This Act contains legislative amendments to the Employment Insurance Act and to the Canada Labour Code to support three measures that will help Canadian families balance work and family responsibilities. These measures are: enhanced access to sickness benefits for parents receiving Employment Insurance (EI) parental benefits; EI benefits for parents of critically ill children; and the Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered or Missing Children grant.