On May 13, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, along with the Minister of State for Social Development, the Honourable Candice Bergen, highlighted the increased support proposed from Canadians taking care of family members facing a significant risk of death.
Effective January 3, 2015, the Government of Canada plans to enhance Compassionate Care benefits as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2015. They will pump an additional $37 million annually to extend Employment Insurance (EI) compassionate care benefits from 6 weeks to 6 months.
These benefits are available to eligible individuals who are temporarily away from work to care for a sick family member with a significant risk of death. It is estimated that 6,900 claimants will make use of this benefit per year.
The plan for these enhanced benefits creates an scenario where the claimant may be eligible to collect up to 26 weeks of benefits. In addition, these benefits can be taken within an expanded period of 52 weeks (up from 26 weeks) and can be shared between family members.
There are no changes to the eligibility criteria for pending claimants -- a medical certificate signed by a doctor attesting to the family member's condition is still required.
If registered for access to the EI program, self-employed Canadians can apply for EI special benefits (maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care and parents of critically ill children benefits).
Did you know?
Caregivers of those who are at risk of death or who are dying go through a difficult time. The demands of the gravely ill may affect the emotional and financial security of caregivers as well. It is during these times that benefits such as compassionate care are so necessary and valued. For many, they don't anticipate they will see themselves in a position of this nature -- whether with a serious health risk or as a caregiver. Our role is to help address uncertainty and manage risk during the financial aspects of the group benefits experience. We also make it our business to stay on top of legislative and regulatory changes so that we are well positioned to support your needs. We're here to help and invite you to contact us so that you can stay focused on what you do best.
Dave Dickinson, B.Comm, CFP, CLU, CHFC
Experienced Benefits Specialist ready to optimize your group benefits and pension plans.