Canada Is Set To Get A New 15-Week Benefit For Parents & Here's What We Know So Far

It would give more parents extra time at home with their newborns.👇

Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland. Right: Canadian dollars.
Senior Editor

Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland. Right: Canadian dollars.

There's some good news on the horizon for new and prospective parents, as the federal government is set to introduce a new 15-week parental benefit in Canada.

On Monday, March 13, CTV News reported that the feds are preparing to implement a new benefit that will give more parents additional time at home with their newborns.

Per the report, the new parental benefit is part of a series of major changes to Employment Insurance (EI), the majority of which are set to be announced in the coming months.

The new support — which will be available to new parents for up to 15 weeks — will provide more help to parents who adopt or have a child with the help of a surrogate.

Federal Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said it's "a matter of equity," and that consultations on EI modernization resulted in calls for more time for parents to bond with their children.

Under the existing EI maternity and parental benefit format, standard parental leave allows one parent up to 35 weeks of paid leave, or 40 weeks of paid leave between two parents.

And, currently, a parent who gives birth is able to get an additional 15 weeks of maternity leave.

However, under the new plan, this extra support would also be available to those adopting a child or welcoming a baby via surrogate.

Qualtrough also said that increases to the weekly EI maximums are "on the table" too, noting that there is a focus on an approach that is "a lot more equitable, particularly for women."

No details around when the new benefit will become available have been publicized, although it's possible the plan will be laid out as part of the federal budget on March 28.

In an exclusive interview, Qualtrough told CTV that she would not "scoop" Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on the finer details of the announcement, but said parents can expect changes in the "coming months."

The concept of a 15-week benefit that is available to more parents has been discussed by the Liberals since 2019, when it was promised as part of their federal election campaign.

It was brought up again in 2021 in the employment minister’s mandate letter, although no concrete action was taken at the time.

Last week, Deputy PM and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland confirmed that the 2023 federal budget will be presented on Tuesday, March 28.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.