On January 4, 2004, Part 4 of Bill C-28, the Federal Budget Implementation Act, 2003 came into force. This Bill amends the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code to provide compassionate care benefits.
The Employment Insurance Act now provides for a new special income benefit for up to 6 weeks to claimants who provide care or support to a child, parent, spouse or common law partner or child of a spouse or common law partner. The individual requiring care must be suffering from a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks. To qualify for the benefit, the claimant must provide medical certification of the family member’s condition and the requirement for care or support by the claimant. Eligible family members may be entitled to share compassionate care benefits.
In a related amendment, the Canada Labour Code now provides for unpaid leave of absence for compassionate care of up to 8 weeks for the purposes of providing care or support to a family member of the employee in the circumstances described above. The leave of absence must be taken in periods of not less than one week and the aggregate amount of leave that may be taken by two or more employees in respect of the care or support of the same family member cannot exceed 8 weeks.