Caring for a critically ill child is the most dreaded and difficult scenario for any parent.
The Government of Canada provides Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for this circumstance. As with all of these programs, certain conditions must be met, and documentation and proof is required.
The basic benefit is 55% of insurable earnings, with a weekly maximum payment of $537 for a maximum of 35 weeks.
What you Need to Know
In order to qualify for these benefits the recipient must be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a critically ill child. “Care or Support” is defined as:
- Providing psychological or emotional support; or
- Arranging for the care by a third party; or
- Directly providing or participating in the care
To be eligible for compassionate care benefits for up to a maximum of 35 weeks, you must be absent from work to provide care or support to the child. You must be able to show that:
- Your regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40 percent because you need to provide care or support to a critically ill or injured child; AND
- You have accumulated 600 insured hours of work in the last 52 weeks, or since the start of your last EI claim
o You can apply for compassionate care benefits while receiving EI claims, but all conditions regarding income reduction and insured hours must also be met
- You are the parent of the child who is critically ill or injured; and
- Your child is under 18 years of age at the time the 52-week window opens
Self-employed individuals are also eligible to receive these benefits if they are registered to access the EI program. Other qualifying conditions exist, and contain a heightened level of complexity. All recipients whether employed or self-employed and their employers must pay EI premiums.
Applying opens a 52-week, and it is confirmed by the date of the medical certificate. The 35 weeks of benefits can be claimed over this 52-week window, and may be shared between parents. Like regular EI benefits a two-week waiting period exists, but only one parent is required to be disqualified for each benefit claim.
To apply online you will need your:
- Social Insurance Number
- Mother’s maiden name
- Mailing and residential addresses including postal codes
- Your banking information including institution name, branch and account number if you desire direct deposit
- Employer names, addresses, dates of employment, reasons for separation for ALL of your employers over the last 52 weeks
o Detailed version of the facts if you quit or were dismissed from any of the jobs over the last 52 weeks
- Information about the gravely ill family member such as first and last name, date of birth, home address, this information can be finalized later if not readily available
After you apply online you will need to provide medical proof:
- Authorization to Release a Medical Certificate
- Medicate Certificate
o Both forms are found in pdf format at
Use these guidelines accordingly, actual benefit periods and amounts are calculated and paid by the Government of Canada, rely on their determination solely.
The online application for critically ill children benefits is found at: