With start of meetings on EI review, businesses look for rethink of parental leave

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OTTAWA –


One of the largest business groups in the country says a sweeping review of the employment insurance system should consider whether to turn parental benefits into a separate program.


It’s an idea that has been floated previously, to hive off the special benefits for new parents from the EI system, given the growth in demand for the leaves.


Leah Nord, senior director of workforce strategies at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, says the idea has been raised anew by businesses during recent meetings on the future of EI as one piece of a larger puzzle to modernize the decades-old system.


The Liberals have promised to unveil a road map for a renewed EI by September, and Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough was scheduled to start hosting regional roundtables about the future of the program.


In a tweet, Qualtrough says the meetings build on last fall’s consultations with employer and worker groups about how to better support gig workers, self-employed and seasonal workers in the system.


The message setting up the meetings also noted the need to improve support for workers during life events like the birth of a child or adoption.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2022.

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