New Benefit for Families of Critically Ill Children

The federal government has announced that it will provide more support for parents of critically ill children through a new employment insurance benefit. The benefit will help alleviate some of the financial burden associated with caring for a sick child.

Parental caregivers of critically ill children under the age of 18 can claim up to 35 weeks within a year under the Federal Employment Insurance Program. Under this benefit, ‘critically ill’ is defined as a life-threatening illness or injury which can include various acute phases of illness or injury and for which continued parental care or support is required.

Prior to this announcement,  the only benefit available to family caregivers looking after their sick child allowed up to eight weeks of leave (under the Federal Employment Insurance Program) – six of which are paid at 55% of the average insurable earnings – if there was a ‘significant risk of death for a family member.’ However, parents of critically ill children were less likely to submit claims for financial support because they did not wish to acknowledge that their child had a significant risk of dying.

Article by Alexa Giorgi of the Canadian Cancer Society.

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