Alberta plans to extend parental leave period for all employees in province

Alberta's NDP government says it will soon make changes to labour regulations to allow expectant parents in the province to apply for extended federal leave benefits.

'We'll be able to ensure that all Albertans have access to all those benefits,' premier says

Expectant parents will soon be able to extend their EI benefits in Alberta from 12 to 18 months. (Shutterstock)

Alberta's NDP government says it will soon make changes to labour regulations to allow expectant parents in the province to apply for extended federal leave benefits.

New parents planning to begin parental leave after Dec. 2, 2017, will be able to spread their federal benefits over 18 months, rather than the current 12 months.

The changes, introduced in November by the Trudeau government, will automatically give workers in federally regulated workplaces such as banks, transport companies, the public service, and telecoms the option of taking time off.

That only covers about eight per cent of Canadian workers.

Provincial changes are still needed to give the other 92 per cent of Canadian workers access to the same benefits.

Premier Rachel Notley said her government introduced changes to employment laws this spring giving it the authority to extend the time period to collect federal parental benefits for all workers in Alberta.

"We've given ourselves the authority by regulation to ensure that we can keep up with the standards that are brought up by the federal government, particularly as it relates to leaves and EI and those kinds of things," Notley said in a teleconference from Ottawa on Wednesday. "So we'll be able to ensure that all Albertans have access to all those benefits in a very timely way."

Notley said Minister of Labour Christina Gray will make those changes to the law soon, though the premier couldn't give a specific date,

"I think it will be done quickly enough to ensure that everybody's able to enjoy the benefits," Notley said.

"We are completely committed to ensuring that every Albertan has the same protections and has the ability to access EI to the fullest amount possible."

About the Author

Nola Keeler

Nola Keeler is an award-winning journalist who has worked with CBC in Whitehorse, Yukon and Edmonton since 2000. She has worked as a host, reporter, news reader and producer for CBC. Send story ideas to nola.keeler@cbc.ca.