April 29th, 2014
On March 5, 2013 Bill 21 – An Amendment to the Employment Standards Act was introduced with a goal to provide unpaid job-protected leave for employees while they care for sick or injured loved ones or cope with the illness or loss of a child. The Alzheimer Society is encouraged that the government is recognizing the value of caregivers by providing for greater job-protection so they can provide care while continuing to be employed. View the Bill here and visit this page to see updated proposed amendments to the bill.
Today, April 29, 2014, Bill 21—the Amendment to the Employment Standards Act, Leaves to Help Families— passed third reading in the Ontario legislature and will become law!
The Bill provides job-protected leaves of absence of up to 8 weeks annually to caregivers so they can focus their attention on what matters most; being there, offering care and support to a family member with a serious medical condition.
As a founding member of the Ontario Caregiver Coalition, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario has been working ardently to advance this Bill over the past two and a half years. With thanks to hundreds of Ontarians who reached out to their MPPs in support of the Bill, and to all members of the Coalition and their concerted push for amendments, the Bill passed on April 29 and now
- recognizes a broad range of conditions, including dementia
- has had the fees associated with a medical certificate removed by allowing other regulated health professionals to provide a medical certificate in order for a caregiver to access the bill.
“Passage of this Bill demonstrates the Ontario Government’s recognition of the role of family caregivers as active members of the health-care team,” says Gale Carey, Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. “And while Bill 21 provides unpaid job-protected leave to caregivers across Ontario, we will continue our work to align Employment Insurance benefits with this leave so that caregivers can find ways of alleviating the financial burden of an unpaid leave.”
Family members (spouses and adult children and in-laws) provide most of the care for the 200,000 Ontario seniors with dementia. They play a critical role as part of the caregiving team, help maintain the well-being of those they are caring for, and lighten the impact on our health-care system by delaying admission to institutional care by about 1.5 years. Today, they can breathe a sigh of relief as an important step has been taken by this province to recognize informal caregivers, the work they do and the contributions they make.
On Nov 4th, 2013 the Alzheimer Society of Ontario made a presentation to the Standing Committee on General Government, who is charged with reviewing and amending the bill as needed. See the amendments made here: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=2738
Read our submission to the Standing Committee on General Government: Bill 21 – Amendment to the Employment Standards Act here
To learn more or to become an Alzheimer Society advocate, please email Delia Sinclair at firstname.lastname@example.org.