Last Reviewed September 2014
Paid Maternity Leave in Canada
- Parents in Canada can receive up to 50 weeks paid pregnancy or parental leave.
- These benefits can be split between parents.
- Parents in Ontario are entitled to 17 weeks pregnancy/parental leave from their jobs.
If you’re planning to get pregnant, you'll want to know how your income might be affected. Do you know:
- How much paid or unpaid leave you can take from work?
- How much money you might get from the government while you’re on maternity leave?
- How much additional money, if any, your employer will give you during your leave?
- How much money, if any, your partner's employer will pay should your partner take parental leave?
Canadian Federal Benefits
Canadian working women who are having a baby or adopting a child are entitled to both parental and maternity leave from their jobs. They may also receive paid benefits during their time away from work caring for their babies.
In Canada, parents can receive up to a total of 50 weeks of paid pregnancy or parental benefits from Canada’s Employment Insurance (EI) plan.
Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits
Paid Maternity Leave Benefits
The Canadian federal government offers maternity benefits to working mothers who qualify. EI offers paid maternity leave for 15 weeks. Maternity benefits can be claimed by only the mother.
To qualify, a new mother must:
- Be an employee who has had EI deductions taken from your earnings (not self-employed, unless you’ve been paying into EI).
- Have worked for a minimum 600 hours in 52 weeks before giving birth, or since her last EI claim.
Paid Parental Leave Benefits
EI also offers paid parental benefits up to 35 weeks for either parent while they are caring for the baby. Paid parental benefits can be used entirely by the mother or split between both parents.
The Most You’ll Receive
Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) calculates how much you'll receive as 55% of your average insured earnings, up to a maximum amount per week. Visit Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits (Service Canada) for more information about how much you will receive.
EI is taxable income. This means that federal and provincial taxes will be deducted from your payment. You might be eligible to receive a higher benefit rate (the Family Supplement) if you receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB).
Deciding When to Return to Work
Once you and your partner know how much you'll get from EI and how much you might from your employers, discuss your options and decide who wants to take leave when.