Bill C-220 Reaches Royal Assent, Extending the Canada Labour Code by Five Unpaid Days

Categories: Care, Featured, Leadership, and Policy.

Last year, MP Matt Jeneroux introduced Bill-C220 as a private member’s bill—only 2% of these types of bills usually become law. This enactment amends the Canada Labour Code by five unpaid days, which entitles Canadians to extend their bereavement leave—including employees who, at the time a family member dies, are on compassionate care leave or leave related to critical illness in respect of the deceased person. Naturally, this bill brought the House of Commons together since grief is a universally shared experience.

“I have worked with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association on this bill from its genesis. Their help and support has been instrumental in getting this bill unanimous support from all Parliamentarians,” states MP Matt Jeneroux.

“I would like to congratulate all Parliamentarians who set aside their differences to do the right thing in the best interest of fellow Canadians,” says Laurel Gillespie, CEO of the Canadian Hospice Association of Canada (CHPCA).

Making bereavement leave, particularly for those caring for a loved one with a life-limiting illness, easier for Canadians to access has long been a priority for the Quality End-of-Life Coalition of Canada (QELCCC). It was one of QELCCC’s main 2019 federal election asks of all parties and is a key part of our advocacy to improve all aspects of end-of-life care for Canadians, including grief and bereavement supports for their loved ones.

“I am grateful to all our member organizations who came together to advocate for the passage of Bill C-220 and for better grief and bereavement supports for Canadians,” says Bianca Carlone, Chair of the QELCCC Advocacy Committee. “This change will have such a meaningful impact on the lives of Canadians who are grieving and is especially significant after all we have been through during the pandemic.”

Thanks to the efforts of the QELCCC 35 member organizations, led by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, the Canadian Cancer Society, Heart & Stroke Foundation, and Canadian Association of Social Workers, who engaged Members of Parliament and Senators on this issue, they were able to garner remarkable cross-partisan collaboration and unanimous support in both the House of Commons and Senate to get this Bill passed.

“My deepest and heartfelt thanks to all members of the Quality End of Life Coalition of Canada for their tireless effort behind this wonderful legislation,” states Laurel Gillespie, CEO of CHPCA.

Together, CHPCA and QELCCC wholeheartedly support this bill and are excited to see the support of the House of Commons. Grief and bereavement affect us all, which is why Canadians deserve to have time to grieve, to remember, and to heal. Thanks to bill C-220, we now have the supports in place to do so.

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