After a year marked by loss, a private member’s bill aimed at extending the time some Canadians can take off after the death of a loved one has garnered “unprecedented” cross-partisan support and co-operation.
Bill C-220, first introduced by Conservative MP Matt Jeneroux (Edmonton Riverbend, Alta.) in February 2020 and reinstated in September after the House returned from prorogation, originally aimed to amend the Canada Labour Code to extend compassionate leave for caregivers with jobs in federally regulated workplaces from one to three weeks.
The bill, as amended during a one-day study on Feb. 25 by the House Human Resources, Skills, and Social Development Committee, has now been shifted from compassionate leave to bereavement leave, Mr. Jeneroux said, as well as locking it down to a standard two weeks of extra time off post-death across the board. The other changes were more administrative in nature and included the addition of a three-month implementation period following royal assent, and a changing of the title.
The change to bereavement leave means that where previously the legislated changes would have only covered caregivers, now included in its scope is support for those who have lost someone in their immediate family to more sudden means, like a car crash or homicide.
According to Liberal MP Anthony Housefather (Mount Royal, Que.), in practical terms, the change would mean that where currently there is bereavement leave consisting of three paid days and two unpaid days off, the bill allows for now the same number of compensated days along with seven unpaid days off.
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