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Prime Minister Harper announces support for parents of critically ill children

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced a proposed new Employment Insurance (EI) special benefit for parents who take time off work to care for their critically ill or injured children.

“Many parents face enormous emotional and financial challenges when caring for a child with a life threatening illness or injury, and we want to make it easier on them”, said Prime Minister Harper. “Parents play a vital role in a child’s recovery, and the new EI benefit announced today will help ease their financial pressure so they can focus on what’s important, their families.”

Parents who must take time off work to care for a child who has a life threatening illness or injury would be able to apply for up to 35 weeks of this new EI special benefit.

The special benefit is part of the Government of Canada’s continued action to help parents balance work and family responsibilities. Other EI measures include: expanding eligibility for compassionate care benefits; allowing self-employed workers to opt into the EI program to receive maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits, as well as this new special benefit; and improving access to EI parental benefits for military and foster families.

The new EI special benefit for parents of critically ill children is expected to be available in June 2013 and will help an estimated 6,000 families per year.