Parental, maternity legislation across Canada (Web sight)

Links to federal and provincial resources

At the end of 2000, the federal government amended the Employment Insurance Act to provide up to 50 weeks of EI benefits to employees who take pregnancy and parental leave and the Canada Labour Code to provide job protection for up to 50 weeks. Below are sites outlining parental leave policies from across the country.

Service Canada

Service Canada has a comprehensive list of FAQs on Employment Insurance and maternity, parental and sickness benefits.


Alberta’s maternity and parental leave entitlements are set out in the province’s Employment Standards Code. Alberta has no parental leave provisions in its labour legislation.

British Columbia

The British Columbia Ministry of Labour and Citizens’ Services provides this employment standards fact sheet on various leaves, including information about pregnancy and parental leave. Pregnant employees are entitled to up to 17 consecutive weeks of unpaid pregnancy leave, and “a birth mother who does not take pregnancy leave, a birth father, or an adopting parent is entitled to up to 37 consecutive weeks of unpaid parental leave.”


Manitoba Labour’s Employment Standards site lays out the parental leave provisions of the Employment Standards Code in this bilingual PDF document. Employees must have been employed for at least seven consecutive months at the same employer and must apply at least four weeks before the intended start of the leave.

New Brunswick and

The first of these New Brunswick government PDFs provides an outline of maternity leave rules that employers must follow. The second lists child-care leave requirements. An employee must provide the employer with a medical doctor’s certificate that provides the probable date of delivery or the date the birth has occurred.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Relations Agency provides this series of FAQs for a wide range of employee and employer issues, including links to pregnancy, parental and adoption leaves. Employees in the province must be employed by the same employer for at least 20 consecutive weeks before becoming the parent of a child or before having the child come into the employee’s care and custody.

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories government site provides this three-page PDF document of the Labour Standards Act’s pregnancy and parental leave regulations.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s Employment and Workplaces site has a section on employment rights and a link to the province’s Labour Standards Code. Click on the “Guide to the Code” link and scroll down to the section on “Leaves of Absence” for information on pregnancy and parental leaves. If an employee takes both pregnancy and parental leaves, she must take them together and cannot go back to work between the leaves.


The Nunavut government provides this PDF document of the Labour Standards Act’s consolidation of pregnancy and parental leave regulations.


The Ontario government’s site provides this PDF fact sheet on pregnancy and parental leave. It lays out key definitions and answers a wide variety of FAQs on the topic, including those on pay, seniority and benefits and whether an employer can require an employee to return from leave early — it can’t.

Prince Edward Island

The Prince Edward Island government’s site offers information in its Community and Cultural Affairs section under the heading “Special Leave.” Scroll down to the section on parental and adoption leave. Information includes the fact that “the employer may allow the employee to return to work early if the employee provides the employer with two weeks’ written notice of the intended date of return.”


Quebec’s Labour Standards Commission outlines “Absences and leaves for family or parental matters,” which includes leaves for weddings, deaths and funerals as well as maternity, paternity and parental leaves. Parental leave in Quebec is “in addition to the maternity leave lasting a maximum of 18 weeks and the paternity leave lasting five weeks.”


Saskatchewan Labour lays out maternity, adoption and parental leave provisions in this easy-to-read fact sheet. Employees are entitled to 89 weeks of job-protected leave.


The government of Yukon’s Labour Services section educates employers and employees about the Employment Standards Act, which is available as a link to a PDF. The maternity and parental leave information is found in section six of the document. As well, scroll to the bottom of the Labour Services page for links to what’s covered under the act and click on the “Maternity and Parental Leave” link which provides FAQs.

Ann Macaulay is a freelance editor and regular contributor to Canadian HR Reporter. Her Web Sight column appears regularly in the CloseUp section.

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