There is some great news for caregivers in Ontario this week! Bill 21 - the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families) passed its third reading and is now on its way to becoming a law. This law will add to existing unpaid leaves employees can take for family reasons, while ensuring that their jobs are protected. For those who are in the role of caregiver for a loved one ("with a serious medical condition" which includes dementia), eligibility for up to 8 weeks of leave annually (with a medical note) will most definitely assist in the balancing act so many are forced to contend with on a daily basis.
The protection extends as well to parents of critically ill children (up to 37 weeks), and to parents of missing children (52 weeks) or those who tragically lost a child due to a crime (up to 104 weeks). Unfortunately, the leave available is all unpaid and the reality for most is that taking extended time off can indeed create the further stress of financial issues. One battle at a time. Many who have been instrumental in getting this bill passed, are also lobbying to align Employment Insurance Benefit eligibility with this legislation.
Congratulations to all those who have worked so hard to ensure that caregivers of both young and old have one less thing to worry about when their attention and energy is focused on caring for someone they love. For more information on this new law you can visit http://news.ontario.ca/mol/en/2014/04/family-caregivers-bill-passes-final-vote.html