Order fixing March 17, 2019 as the day on which sections 303 to 307, and 310 and 311 of that Act come into force: SI/2019-11
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 153, Number 6
SI/2019-11 March 20, 2019
BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION ACT, 2018, NO. 2
Order fixing March 17, 2019 as the day on which sections 303 to 307, and 310 and 311 of that Act come into force
P.C. 2019-128 February 28, 2019
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Employment and Social Development and the Minister of Labour, pursuant to section 313 of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, chapter 27 of the Statutes of Canada, 2018, fixes March 17, 2019 as the day on which sections 303 to 307, and 310 and 311 of that Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
To fix March 17, 2019, as the date on which sections 303 to 307, and 310 and 311 of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 (BIA 2018, No. 2) come into force.
- To advance gender equality.
- To create an incentive for all parents to take some leave and share Employment Insurance parental benefits when welcoming a new child.
Employment Insurance (EI) parental benefits are intended to provide temporary income support to parents who take a leave from work to care for their newborn or child newly placed for adoption.
The Employment Insurance Act (the EI Act) includes two options for EI parental benefits — the standard duration or the extended duration. The standard option provides 35 weeks of parental benefits, paid at 55% of average weekly insurable earnings over 12 months. The extended option provides 61 weeks of parental benefits, paid at 33% of average weekly insurable earnings over 18 months.
The Canada Labour Code (the Code) provides employees in the federally regulated private sector with the right to take unpaid job-protected parental leave if they wish to avail themselves of these EI benefits. Seven provinces and territories have amended their parental leave provisions in their respective employment standards to ensure that the employees under their jurisdiction can avail themselves of the extended parental benefits.
As women make 85% of all parental claims and take longer leaves from the workplace, the EI Parental Sharing Benefit is intended to create an incentive for all parents to take some leave when welcoming a new child.
Amendments to the EI Act and the Code were made through BIA 2018, No. 2, which received royal assent on December 13, 2018, to promote more equal roles in the home and in the workplace through an EI Parental Sharing Benefit and related leaves under the Code.
The amendments to the EI Act increase the duration of EI standard parental benefits up to 40 weeks when shared, an increase from the current 35 weeks. However, no parent will be eligible to receive benefits for more than 35 weeks. Parents who share the extended duration of EI parental benefits could receive up to 69 weeks of parental benefits, an increase from the current 61 weeks. No parent will be eligible to receive benefits for more than 61 weeks.
The amendments to the Code align parental leave provisions with the EI Parental Sharing Benefit and ensure that federally regulated private sector employees have the right to take leave while receiving EI benefits without fear of losing their job. Specifically, the amendments increase the maximum aggregate amount of parental leave that may be taken by more than one employee for the same birth or adoption from the current 63 weeks to 71 weeks, while the maximum amount of leave taken by one employee will remain at 63 weeks.
The amendments also increase the maximum aggregate amount of maternity and parental leave taken by more than one employee from the current 78 weeks to 86 weeks, while one employee cannot take more than the current 78 weeks of maternity and parental leave.
The leave provisions under the Code only apply to federally regulated private sector employees, and not to provincially or territorially regulated employees. Provinces and territories will need to consider whether to amend their employment standards legislation to provide full job protection to align with the EI Parental Sharing Benefit for employees under provincial or territorial jurisdiction.
The Order brings the amendments to the EI Act and the Code into force on March 17, 2019, providing access to the benefits and leave. This measure is expected to support 97 000 parents annually across Canada except in Quebec, where maternity, paternity, parental and adoption benefits are provided through the Quebec Parental Insurance Program.
Since its announcement, media and stakeholders have been supportive of the gender equality agenda and the EI Parental Sharing Benefit in particular. It has also been discussed in the context of conferences with key researchers, child care experts and union representatives in the summer of 2018.
The Government held online consultations and a ministerial round table in fall 2016 to gather the views of Canadians, employers, stakeholders and provinces and territories on potential changes to EI maternity, parental and caregiving benefits and corresponding leaves under the Code. Through these consultations and other pre-budget submissions, some stakeholders indicated that there was a need to improve leave for fathers and second parents. Furthermore, there were calls from adoptive parents and parents of multiple births requesting the option to take more time with their children.
Some employers and labour organizations noted the culture change this policy could have in increasing uptake of EI parental benefits and leave by men. Other employers raised concerns about incremental staffing pressures, increased labour and administrative costs, and increased EI premiums. It was also noted that the legislative and regulatory amendments could have implications for employer supplementary benefits (top-ups) and collective bargaining agreements.
Employment Insurance Policy, Special Benefits
Skills and Employment Branch
Employment and Social Development Canada
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