In A Flash

Federal Government Extends EI Sickness Benefits and Unpaid Leave under the Canada Labour Code

The Federal Government announced the extension of EI sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks and an increase of available unpaid medical leave from 17 to 27 weeks for federally regulated private sector employees under the Canada Labour Code.

Both extensions are set to begin on December 18, 2022. The Government announcement is available here.

EI Sickness Benefits

Employees who qualify for EI sickness benefits and establish a new claim on or after December 18, 2022, will be able to receive up to 26 weeks of EI sickness benefits if they are sick and require this time to recover.

EI sickness benefits are paid at 55% of the applicant’s average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum entitlement of $638 per week for 2022. To qualify, claimants of EI sickness benefits must demonstrate that:

  • they are unable to work for medical reasons;
  • their regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40% for at least one week;
  • they accumulated at least 600 insured hours of work in the last 52 weeks before the start of their claim, or since the start of their last claim, whichever is shorts; and
  • if it were not for their medical condition, they would otherwise be available for work.

Additionally, claimants must obtain a medical certificate signed by a medical practitioner. The medical practitioner must practise in Canada or the United States and the illness they are treating must be in their field. The following medical practitioners can complete and sign a claimant’s medical certificate:

  • medical doctor;
  • chiropractor;
  • optometrist;
  • psychologist;
  • dentist;
  • midwife (except in Prince Edward Island);
  • nurse practitioner; and
  • registered nurse (in isolated areas when a doctor is unavailable).
Unpaid Medical Leave

The Federal Government also announced an increase in available unpaid medical leave under the Canada Labour Code from 17 weeks to 27 weeks.

This is in addition to the 10 days of paid sick leave for federally regulated employees that comes into force on December 1, 2022. Our article on these new paid sick leave days can be found here.

If you have any questions about this topic, or any questions relating to workplace law generally, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.

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