Ontario Introduces Family Caregiver Leave


On December 8, 2011, Ontario introduced Bill 30, the Family Caregiver Leave Act (Employment Standards Amendment), 2011 (“Bill 30”).  If passed, Bill 30 creates a new category of job-protected leave in Ontario effective July 1, 2012. Entitlement to family caregiver leave is in addition to the existing entitlement to family medical leave and personal emergency leave under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act as further described below.

Family Caregiver Leave

Under proposed Bill 30, an employee is entitled to a leave of absence without pay to provide care or support to a prescribed family member who has a serious medical condition. An employee may take a leave of up to eight weeks per calendar year with respect to each family member defined by the legislation as follows:

  • Their 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 or the employee’s spouse.
  • The spouse of a child of the employee.
  • The employee’s brother or sister.
  • A relative of the employee who is dependent on the employee for care or assistance.

An employee is required to provide a medical certificate from a qualified health practitioner stating that their family member has a serious medical condition in order to be eligible for the leave.

Family Medical Leave

Family medical leave may be taken to provide care or support to certain family members and people who consider the employee to be like a family member in respect of whom a qualified health practitioner has issued a certificate indicating that he or she has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring within a period of 26 weeks. The leave is unpaid and job-protected for up to eight weeks in a 26-week period.

If an employee has taken a family medical leave to care for a family member who has not passed away within the 26-week period referred to in the medical certificate, and a health practitioner issues another certificate stating that the family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks, the employee is entitled to an additional eight-weeks of family medical leave.

Personal Emergency Leave

Personal emergency leave is unpaid, job-protected leave of up to 10 days each calendar year. Personal emergency leave may be taken in the case of personal illness, injury or medical emergency and the death, illness, injury, medical emergency of, or urgent matter relating to, certain family members, including dependent relatives. Only employees who work for employers that regularly employ at least 50 employees are entitled to this leave.

EI Compassionate Care Benefits

Whereas the Employment Standards Act of Ontario ensures employees can take various job-protected unpaid leaves of absence from their jobs in the event of a medical emergency or to care for a sick family member, Employment Insurance provides temporary financial assistance to workers who must care for a seriously ill family member who faces a significant risk of death.

Employment Insurance (EI) provides Compassionate Care Benefits to persons who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death. The benefit is available for a maximum of six weeks within a 26-week period.

If you would like more information contact your Burke & Company Limited consultant.