New unpaid leave rights for Canadian employees

17 October 2014

From October 29th 2014, employees in Ontario, Canada will be able to benefit from three additional types of unpaid leave: ‘family caregiver leave’, ‘critically ill child care leave’ and ‘crime-related death and child disappearance leave’.

Our thanks to the Federation of International Employers for this report:

Under the amendment to the Employment Standards Act, 2000, an employee may be absent from work for up to eight weeks each year to look after or support a family member who suffers from a serious medical illness. The law does not provide a definition of a ‘serious medical condition’ but does state that it may include a chronic or episodic condition. Employers may request to see a certificate from a doctor, nurse or psychologist to confirm the family member’s condition. This leave is available immediately upon commencement of employment.

In addition, up to 37 weeks of leave may be taken to look after a critically sick child who is below the age of 18. Employees should provide a certificate that confirms the child’s illness. This leave can only be taken if the employee has worked for six months.

Finally, employees may take up to 52 weeks of leave if their child disappears and it is likely that the disappearance is due to criminal activity. Leave will be increased to up to 104 weeks if the child dies as a result of this criminal activity. Employees must have worked for six months to benefit from this leave. Unlike the other two types of leave mentioned above, this leave must be taken in one go.