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Compassionate Care Program in Canada 


One of the biggest issues that confront caregivers of the terminally ill is time, particularly if the caregivers are employed. To address this issue, the Canadian government, through the Employment Insurance program, has made available a six-week Compassionate Care Program for those who are eligible. 


In order to receive program benefits, the employee must show that regular weekly earnings have dropped by more than 40% and he or she must have accumulated 600 insured hours of work over the previous 52 weeks or since the start of the most recent claim. He or she must be caring for or supporting a family member who is at risk of dying from an illness within six months. 

Proof of illness 

hen applying for the Compassionate Care program, you will need to provide a medical certificate to provide proof of the illness. 

Sharing the benefits 

If family members would like to share the benefit, it is possible. For example, if the care is for a child, one parent can take three weeks, the other the remaining three weeks. If siblings are caring for a parent, they can split the weeks up between them as well, as long as the total adds up to six weeks. 

Family members 

The full list of eligible family members is available on the Employment Insurance website. The list does go beyond the immediate family of parents, spouse, children, and siblings. You are permitted to apply to look after foster children, common law partners, in-laws, even nieces and nephews of your spouse or common law partner, among others. As well, if you are particularly close to a friend or neighbor, and a Compassionate Care Benefits Attestation is completed, this qualifies as well. 

For more informatio

For more detailed information, visit the Employment Insurance website.


© 2007-8 Marijke Vroomen-Durning