ontario news watch

Federal government to extend EI sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks

OTTAWA — Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says the federal government is extending employment insurance sickness benefits to 26 weeks, up from 15 weeks. 

According to a news release, workers applying for EI will be eligible for the more generous benefits starting Dec. 18. 

The maximum length of unpaid medical leave available to federally regulated private sector workers is also being extended to 27 weeks from 17 on the same date.

The change is being made to ensure workers can take unpaid leave from their jobs to receive the extended EI sickness benefits.

In 2021, the Liberals campaigned on a promise to modernize EI and pledged to expand the program to cover self-employed workers and address gaps, including those highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Liberals have not said when EI reform will happen, though Qualtrough has previously said the government will present its plan by the end of the year. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2022. 

The Canadian Press