Regulations Amending the Employment Insurance Regulations Released
Date: November 17, 2017
Significant amendments to the Employment Insurance Regulations have been filed and were published in the Canada Gazette on November 15, 2017 to implement the availability of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for the care of critically ill adult family members and the option to extend parental leaves, initiatives outlined in the 2017 Federal Budget. The changes to the EI regime, among other things, allow:
- The payment of parental benefits over a longer period at a lower benefit rate
- Maternity benefits to be paid as early as the 12th week before the expected due date
- Payment of a new benefit for family members to care for a critically ill adult
- Payment of benefits to parents and prescribed family members to care for a critically ill child.
As previously reported, amendments to the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code to implement the 2017 Federal Budget changes will come into effect December 3, 2017. The new changes to the EI Regulations are aimed at administering the amended EI program. Set out below are some of the changes to the EI Regulations.
- Addition of a new definition for “critically ill adult” to mirror the definition of “critically ill child” that already exists in the EI Regulations
- Harmonization of the definitions of “family member,” “care,” and “support” for the purpose of all caregiving leaves during which EI benefits are available (i.e. compassionate care benefit to care for seriously ill family members who have a risk of death within 26 weeks; care benefit for family members of a critically ill child under 18 whose baseline health has been significantly changed as a result of an illness or injury; and the new care benefit available for family members of a critically ill adult over the age of 18 that mirrors the critically ill child benefit)
- Addition of a new definition of “nurse practitioner” to allow registered nurses to prepare the required medical certifications for compassionate care benefits and caregiving benefits in respect of a critically ill child or critically ill adult
- Rules regarding the coordination of benefits between claimants in light of the extended parental leave benefit of 61 weeks and clarification of how regular EI benefits and special EI benefits, such as the parental leave benefit, can be combined.