MP for Calgary Shepard

Expand Bereavement Leave

Bill C-307 expands bereavement leave to 8 weeks for parents who have experienced a stillbirth, the death of a child under the age of 18, or the death of a disabled child in the parent’s care.

The current bereavement system outlined in the Canada Labour Code only includes a generic three days of paid and two days of unpaid bereavement leave. This is unfair, unsympathetic, unrealistic for parents to make arrangements to grieve following the death of a child.

I know firsthand the need for an expanded bereavement leave. My daughter, Lucy-Rose passed away in August of 2018, after only living for 39 days. No parent expects or plans to need job-protected bereavement leave, but if they need it, the system should be simple, fair, and compassionate. The current system fails parents during the time when they need compassion the most.

I know three days of paid and two days of unpaid bereavement leave is not enough time to grieve, make funeral arrangements or care for family members following the death of their child. This bill is a first step in ensuring that parents have the support they need to grieve following the death of their child.

Based on a report from the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development, in 2016, there were 2720 deaths of children under the age of 18 and 3063 stillbirths. From experience, I know, the parents of these children need more than an arbitrary 5 days of leave.

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Bill C-307 is a compassionate bill that supports parents when they need it the most.