On Wednesday, Prime Minister Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled the federal budget—and there was plenty in it that might be of interest for Canadian families. The Liberals revealed their plan to spend $7 billion over the next decade to ease the burden of child care costs, as well as initiatives which target families. There are also incentives which appear to help women stay in the workforce and provide balance for those juggling careers and home life.
We take a look at how parents can expect the federal budget to affect them over the next few years.
18-month parental leave
The most attention-grabbing section of the budget came in the form of an 18-month parental leave that will be offered to parents who qualify (600 hours of insurable employment in the previous year). Moms will be able to take 12 months at the regular 55% salary top-up or 18 months at 33% of salary. This will allow women flexibility in juggling their careers with family. However, not everyone will be financially able to survive on a third of their income.
Earlier maternity benefits
Expectant mothers will now be able to claim maternity benefits in the form of maternity leave up to 12 weeks before their due date. The current policy limits this to eight weeks before a baby’s expected arrival.
More early learning programs
The budget includes $7 billion over ten years for more early learning programs and child care centres. The funding will not kick in until the next fiscal year and exact details are scant, but The Canadian Press ‘estimated that child care spending could create 40,000 new, subsidized daycare spaces countrywide over the next three years.’
According to Money Sense, those aiming to conceive children will be able to claim in-vitro fertilization expenses. Previously, you needed a medical reason to do so but this will no longer be necessary. The usually expensive medical procedure could potentially be more affordable for would-be parents who are unable or unwilling to conceive naturally.
In addition to the existing compassionate care benefit available to people who care for a family member near the end of life, the budget announced plans to ‘offer 15 weeks of leave—at 55 percent salary—when caring for a loved one with any serious illness or injury,’ writes Macleans. It will also amend a pre-existing benefit, which gives guardians of critically ill children up to 35 weeks of coverage, so that they may share the leave with other family members.