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A new employment insurance benefit for caregivers of adults

On December 10, 2017 by Caregiver support counsellors

Did you know that a new employment insurance benefit for caregivers of adults took effect on December 3? If you are currently employed and taking care of a loved one, this benefit might give you some breathing room.

If fact, this benefit makes caregivers eligible for up to 15 weeks’ leave to take care of an adult member of their family who is critically ill or injured. A critically ill adult is anyone 18 or over whose baseline state of health has changed significantly and whose life is at risk due to illness or injury (requiring the care or support of at least one caregiver). If the person already has a chronic medical condition, caregivers are not eligible for benefits unless the person's health changes significantly and becomes life-threatening. To be entitled to this new benefit, a family member must present a medical certificate signed by a physician or a nurse practitioner, confirming that1:

  • the patient’s baseline state of heath has changed significantly;
  • the patient’s life is in danger due to illness or injury;
  • the patient needs the care or psychological or emotional support of one or more family members.


Interesting fact: this benefit can be shared by various eligible caregivers (for example, between brothers and sisters) over a period of one year (during a single period or consecutively). The eligibility criteria for receiving the Family Caregiver benefit for adults are as follows2:

  • Your regular weekly pay has decreased by more than 40% because you need to provide care and support to an adult who is critically ill or injured.
  • You have accumulated 600 hours of insurable employment in the 52 weeks prior to the start of your request or since the start of your last request (based on the shorter of the two periods).
  • You are a family member of the critically ill or injured adult, or you are considered as such.
  • The person was at least 18 years old when the physician or nurse practitioner attested that he or she was critically ill or injured.


Finally, if the health of the family member receiving support deteriorates, caregivers could combine this employment insurance benefit with the compassion benefits already in place. If you recall, this benefit gives caregivers up to 26 weeks’ leave to provide care or support to a family member at risk of dying within the next 26 weeks due to an illness.


In all cases, it is strongly suggested to apply for benefits and let a Service Canada representative assess your eligibility.


1,2 Gouvernement du Canada.Family Caregiver Benefit for Adults – Overview.