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Ontario's Family Medical Leave: FAQ

  • ISBN: 0-7794-8774-5
  • Updated: September 2007
  • Content last reviewed: June 2009

With Ontario's Family Medical Leave, you're eligible for up to eight weeks job-protected leave from work in the event of a loved one becoming gravely ill. So you can stop work and care for them, knowing your job will be there when you get back.

How does it work?

An employee can take Family Medical Leave up to eight weeks to provide care or support to certain family members and people who consider the employee to be like a family member in respect of whom a qualified medical practitioner has issued a certificate indicating that he or she has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring within a period of 26 weeks.

Family Medical Leave is available to you whether you apply for federal Employment Insurance compassionate care benefits or not. If you are applying for Employment Insurance (EI) compassionate care benefits, a copy of the medical certificate submitted to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada may also be used for the purpose of family medical leave.

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Who can take Family Medical Leave?

All employees, whether fulltime or part-time, permanent or contract, who are covered by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 are entitled to Family Medical Leave.

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What does providing care or support mean?

Care or support includes: providing psychological or emotional support, arranging for care by a third party provider or directly providing or participating in the care of the family member.

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For which family members may a Family Medical Leave be taken?

The specified individuals for whom a family medical leave may be taken are:

  • the employee’s spouse (including same-sex spouse)
  • a parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse
  • a child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse
  • a brother, step-brother, sister, or step-sister of the employee
  • a grandparent or step-grandparent of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
  • a grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
  • a brother-in-law, step-brother-in-law, sister-in-law or step-sister-in-law of the employee
  • a son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
  • an uncle or aunt of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
  • the nephew or niece of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
  • the spouse of the employee’s grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece
  • Family medical leave may also be taken for a person who considers the employee to be like a family member. Employees wishing to take a family medical leave for a person in this category must provide their employer, if requested, with a completed copy of the Compassionate Care Benefits Attestation form, available from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, whether or not they are making an application for EI Compassionate Care Benefits or are required to complete the form to obtain such benefits.

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Does Family Medical Leave have to be taken all at one time?

The eight weeks of a Family Medical Leave do not have to be taken consecutively but an employee may only take a leave in periods of entire weeks within a specified 26-week period.

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Are Employment Insurance (EI) benefits available to an employee who takes Family Medical Leave?

Six weeks of Employment Insurance benefits called Compassionate Care Benefits may be paid to EI eligible employees taking Ontario's Family Medical Leave.

For information about EI Compassionate Care Benefits, please call your nearest Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) office or call toll-free to 1-800-206-7218. You can also visit HRSDC's website.

See also:

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Employment Standards Information Centre
416-326-7160 (Greater Toronto Area) 
1-800-531-5551 (toll free Canada-wide) 
1-866-567-8893 (TTY for hearing impaired)