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House Statement
by the Honourable Yasir Naqvi
Minister of Labour:
Employment Standards Amendment Act -- Leaves to Help Families, 2013


Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House to introduce our proposed Employment Standards Amendment Act -- Leaves to Help Families, 2013.

This legislation is about compassion and making it possible for every working man and woman to meet the commitments we all have to our families when a crisis occurs.

Our proposed new Family Caregiver Leave would allow Ontarians the one thing they need most when it comes to caring for family members who have a serious medical condition – time to be with their loved ones.

This bill is for the young working family or single parent that needs to care for their child in hospital with a critical illness.

It is for the husband seeing his wife through a difficult period of chemotherapy.

It is for a working adult helping to care for their elderly parent recovering from a broken hip.

The bill provides unpaid leaves which tie into the federal employment insurance benefits already available for parents dealing with the critical illness of a child.

And our bill also provides unpaid leaves for parents in tragic situations where their child is missing or dies as a result of crime.

This is an additional support for these parents who are now eligible for federal employment insurance benefits.

Speaker, our proposed Family Caregiver Leave would build on Ontario’s Family Medical Leave, and would provide up to eight weeks of unpaid job protected leave to employees to care for family members with a serious medical condition.

We all know that caring for a loved one is a priority.

In order to provide this care, many caregivers take time off work at the risk of losing their job in such difficult circumstances. . .

. . . Or Mr. Speaker, they continue working, wearing themselves down. They work during the day and care for their family at night, all the while, suffering extreme stress that impacts their mental and physical health and their productivity.

I think we can all agree that no one should risk losing their job in such difficult circumstances, especially in these challenging economic times.

So we are taking steps to protect those jobs, and ensure that caregivers are able to focus on what matters most — providing support to their loved ones.

This bill is our way of saying to the people of this province that we will help protect you as you protect your loved ones, or as you cope with an unthinkable tragedy such as a murdered or missing child.

Speaker, we know Canada’s population is aging, that’s why, earlier this year, our government announced Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors. A commitment under that plan was to re-introduce this piece of legislation, so that families could take the time they need to care for their loved ones as they age.

Today, we are following through on that commitment.

Aging at home is important to many seniors who want to be with their families.

Family Caregiver Leave would help more of these elderly Ontarians recover from illnesses or injuries at home by allowing caregivers time off from work.

This legislation also supports the new Ontario government’s focus on putting patients first, and delivering the right care at the right time and in the right place.

When a family member is sick, home is where they want to be.

Home care is more comfortable, more convenient and can improve recovery from illness or injury.

After a hospital stay, home care helps an aging parent or a sick child’s quality of life.

It also frees up hospital beds, and helps shorten wait times in hospitals and emergency rooms.

In the end, Speaker, this legislation is about compassion and helping alleviate the stress faced by caregivers during an already very stressful and emotional time.

Our proposed leave would provide these caregivers the comfort of knowing their jobs are secure.

This legislation simply says that we believe in families, and that family caregivers need and deserve to be cared for too.

Thank you.