Canada’s Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits to be Extended From 15 to 26 Weeks and Federal Medical Leave from 15 to 27 Weeks

On November 25, 2022, Canada announced that, commencing on December 18, 2022, Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits will be extended permanently from 15 weeks to 26 weeks. Accordingly, qualified individuals who establish a new claim on or after December 18, 2022, will receive up to 26 weeks of EI sickness benefits, paid at 55% of their average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum entitlement of $638 for 2022.

Canada’s November 25th announcement included this statement:

To align with this change [i.e., in EI sickness benefits to 26 weeks], the maximum length of unpaid medical leave available to federally regulated private-sector employees will also be increased from 17 to 27 weeks under the Canada Labour Code. This change will come into effect on the same date as the extension of EI sickness benefits and will ensure that employees have the right to take unpaid job-protected leave while receiving the extended EI sickness benefits.

In a news release dated December 1, 2022, Canada reiterated that this alignment will occur. 

Finally, as we noted, effective December 1, 2022, employees in federally regulated workplaces1 became entitled to a maximum of 10 days of paid medical leave per calendar year. The actual number of days that an employee will earn will depend on the length of their continuous employment. 

See Footnotes

1 The vast majority of workplaces (90%) are provincially regulated.  Federal workplaces include banks, railways, airlines and telecommunications. 

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.