Jan 13, 2012

Caregiver Leave Proposed in Ontario

New proposed legislation

Currently, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) allows an employee leave to provide care or support if the individual family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring within a period of twenty-six (26) weeks.

Bill 30 was introduced by the Ontario Minister of Labour in December 2011 with proposals to amend the ESA to provide up to 8 weeks per year of unpaid job protected leave to employees who need to take time off work to provide care to a family member with a serious medical condition.

The proposed legislation would cover all employees whether full-time, part-time, permanent or contract who are normally covered by the ESA and requires the employee to get a medical certificate from a qualified medical practitioner indicating that the eligible family member has a serious medical condition. This certificate will have to be shown to the employer upon request.

The eligible family members include:

A spouse; A parent, step-parent, or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse; A child, step-child, or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse; A grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild, or step-grandchild of the employee’s spouse; The spouse of a child of the employee; The employee’s brother or sister; and A relative of the employee who is dependent on the employee for care or assistance.

The federal government is also being lobbied by the Ontario government to extend Employment Insurance benefits to individuals on such leave.

Mary Wahbi

Photography by zeevveez