What is the process for maternity/parental leave and collecting benefits in Canada?

What are the different types of leave?

In Canada, there are three different types of leave you may be eligible for as an expectant parent:

  • Pregnancy leave (up to 17 weeks, unpaid)

  • Maternity leave (only birthing parents are eligible, up to 15 weeks, can start up to 12 weeks before birth and is paid)

  • Parental leave (between 35-37 weeks depending on if you took maternity leave, either parent can claim it, but only one at a time, and is paid)

How much coverage will I get?

These benefits only pay up to 55% of your gross income. Your employer may offer top ups for certain amounts of time or the duration of your leave. Self employed people can apply for benefits but they must have been contributing to the employment insurance program for at least 600 hours in the year prior to birth.

How to get started on the process of applying for leave:

Necessary paperwork can be organized prior to the birth of your child but you can only finalize the claim for maternity or parental leave after the birth. Contact Service Canada for more information and speak to your employer about their parental leave policies and if they offer top ups.


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