Government of Canada announces enhancements to compassionate care benefits

Family to receive more help caring for loved ones at risk of death

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, along with the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development, on behalf of the Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development, last week highlighted increased financial support proposed for individuals taking care of family members facing a significant risk of death.

Compassionate care benefits, which are provided through the Employment Insurance (EI) program, are available to individuals temporarily away from work to care for a sick family member with a significant risk of death. Effective January 3, 2016, the proposed enhanced benefit will allow claimants to collect up to 26 weeks of benefits, up from the current 6 weeks. The benefits can also be taken within an expanded period of 52 weeks (up from 26 weeks) and can be shared between family members.

The enhancements being made to compassionate care benefits through Economic Action Plan (EAP) 2015 reaffirm the Government’s commitment to helping families receive the support they need as they care for loved ones at end-of-life.

Today’s announcement is one example of what the Government is doing to help Canadians. To help hard-working families, the Government is also enhancing the Universal Child Care Benefit, introducing the Family Tax Cut and making improvements to the Child Care Expenses Deduction and the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit.

EAP 2015 proposes to invest up to an additional $37 million annually to extend the duration of compassionate care benefits from the current six weeks to six months, as of January 2016. Through this enhancement, the Government is ensuring that the EI program continues to help Canadians when they need it most.

Since March 24, 2013, the Helping Families in Need Act has allowed parents to suspend the payment of their EI parental benefits if they become ill or are injured, to collect EI sickness benefits and to resume collecting the balance of their parental benefits thereafter, if needed.

Under EAP 2014, the Government allowed additional flexibility to claimants in receipt of EI compassionate care benefits or EI benefits for parents of critically ill children to convert to EI sickness benefits if they become ill or are injured, and to resume collecting the balance of their parental benefits thereafter, if needed.

Between 2006 and 2013, the federal government invested more than $43 million in palliative care research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Economic Action Plans 2011 and 2013 committed $3 million to the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association for the development of community-integrated palliative care models and $3 million to the Pallium Foundation of Canada for palliative care training to front-line healthcare providers, respectively.

EAP 2015 includes a further $14 million over two years to support the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement.

One of the Foundation’s priorities for the funding will be evaluating and disseminating data about best practices in palliative care services.

The Universal Child Care Benefit would increase from $100 to $160 per month (totalling up to $1,920 per year) for children under the age of 6, and parents would receive a new benefit of $60 per month (up to $720 per year) for each child aged 6 through 17.

To learn more about compassionate care benefits, please visit: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/ei/types/compassionate_care.shtml

 

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