Parents who commit to adopt children in their care are now able to receive employment insurance parental benefits.
In recognition that adoption programs vary by province and territory, the federal government will now allow parents to be eligible for EI parental benefits as soon as they have taken the necessary steps to adopt the child in their care. This change brings the EI program in line with current adoption procedures.
“Our government is helping Canadian families by supporting parents who have committed to adopting a child,” said Diane Finley, minister of human resources and skills development. “By increasing the flexibility of EI parental benefits that reflect evolving adoption programs, we are putting the best interest of the child first, ensuring he or she is placed in a stable family environment as early as possible.”
Parental benefits under the EI program are provided to parents who qualify to take time away from work to bond with their newborn or newly adopted child or children. A maximum of 35 weeks of parental benefits is available to biological or adoptive parents.
Placements for the purpose of adoption made by an agency or authorized individuals are recognized under the EI Act as adoptions. In addition to provincial adoptions, the legislation in several provinces also covers inter-provincial and international adoptions. Accordingly, parental benefits may be paid to a claimant with whom a child from the claimant’s province, another province or another country has been placed for the purpose of adoption, provided this placement adheres with the laws within the province or territory where the claimant resides.
Under a “Foster-to-Adopt” or similarly-styled program, a child can be placed for the purpose of adoption prior to the natural parents having consented to the adoption or having relinquished their rights. Entitlement to EI parental benefits is proven from the date of placement if the following criteria are met:
• the child was physically placed with the claimant
•the claimant has made a demonstrable commitment to adopt that child under the laws governing adoption in the province or territory in which the claimant resides.
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