Government of Canada Introduces a New EI Family Caregiver Benefit for Adults and An Improved Family Caregiver Benefit for Children

The new Family Caregiver Benefit for Adults allows eligible caregivers to take up to 15 weeks off work to care for or support an adult family member who is critically ill or injured. Eligible caregivers are family members or individuals that the critically ill or injured adult considers to be like family.

This measures will cost $691.3 million over five years and $168.1 million a year after that, the government says.  It will simplify and improve the system of access to tax credits for caregivers and for dependents.

This benefit, which would be in addition to the current compassionate care benefit and the program for families with severely ill children (see below), will cover situations where a worker is providing care to an adult family member who needs significant support to recover from a critical illness or injury.

To access the new Family Caregiver Benefit for Adults, a family member must submit a medical certificate signed by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner saying that:

  • there has been a significant change in the patient’s baseline state of health;
  • the patient’s life is at risk as a result of an illness or injury; and
  • the patient requires the care or psychological or emotional support of one or more family members.

This new family caregiver benefit may be shared by eligible family members over a one-year period.  Caregivers can share the benefit at the same time or one after another.

In the unfortunate event that the family member’s health deteriorates, caregivers could be eligible to combine this new caregiving benefit with the existing Compassionate Care benefit, which provides a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits.

The new benefit is an important improvement for workers who must care for a severely ill family member. Being a caregiver can be a full-time job and the new benefit recognizes that and allows workers to do it without having to worry about their job and still receive an income.

For more information or to apply, visit Family Caregiver Benefit for Adults – Overview.

The Family Caregiver Benefit for Children allows eligible caregivers to receive up to 35 weeks of financial assistance to provide care or support to a critically ill or injured child.

Any family member or person who is considered to be like family will be eligible for this renamed and enhanced Family Caregiver Benefit for Children. (Before, the Parents of Critically Ill Children benefit was available only to parents.) Up to 35 weeks of EI benefits will continue to be available for the care of a critically ill child.

Medical doctors and nurse practitioners will be able to sign the certificate stating that the child is critically ill. (Before, the certificate had to be signed by a medical specialist.)

In the unfortunate event that the child ’s health deteriorates, caregivers could be eligible to combine this caregiving benefit with the existing Compassionate Care benefit, which provides a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits.

For more information or to apply, visitor Family Caregiver Benefit for Children – Overview.