Skip to main content
Start of content

HUMA Committee Report

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at




As a result of their deliberations committees may make recommendations which they include in their reports for the consideration of the House of Commons or the Government. Recommendations related to this study are listed below.

Recommendation 1

That Employment and Social Development Canada and Service Canada dedicate resources, provide leadership and work with provincial, territorial and First Nations governments to put in place a pan-Canadian bereavement resource centre that includes:

  • A dedicated bereavement telephone line for parents and families who have experienced the death of a child;
  • A dedicated landing page that specifically addresses the needs of parents and families who have experienced the death of a child;
  • Evidenced-based information and resources on bereavement that have been developed in consultation with bereaved parents and family members;
  • An up to date, pan-Canadian database of community-based and peer support organizations;
  • A secure, opt-in national registry of bereaved parents and families that acts as a single portal for reporting a death with all relevant departments in different orders of government, and connects families with similar experiences with one another;
  • A mechanism to ensure that there is outreach to and follow-up with every family who experiences the death of a child; and
  • Support to non-governmental organizationss that provide peer or professional support to bereaved families.

Recommendation 2

That Employment and Social Development Canada work together with the pan-Canadian resource centre and Service Canada to ensure that employees:

  • respond with compassion to bereaved individuals; and
  • help grieving parents and families navigate the systems of Employment Insurance and other government benefits and services.

Recommendation 3

That the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour investigate amendments to labour standards legislation that would provide parents or guardians who experience the death of a child with an unpaid, job-protected leave of absence of up to 104 weeks.

Recommendation 4

That the Ministers of Families, Children and Social Development and Employment, Workforce Development and Labour work with the Minister of Finance Canada and the Minister of National Revenue to:

  • study establishing a bereavement grace period so that Employment Insurance parental and caregiving benefits, as well as Canada Child Benefits, do not end abruptly in the tragic event that a child dies;
  • ensure that no grieving parent or guardian find themselves in a position where they must repay Employment Insurance benefits or Canada Child Benefits that have been indvertantly continued for a short period of time; and
  • ensure that there are ways to make reporting the death of a child seamiless, easier and less traumatic to parents to ensure that parents are treated with compassion.

Recommendation 5

That Employment and Social Development Canada study the feasibility of adopting other models and systems for parental bereavement, including international examples; extending the Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime to all parents who experience the death of a child; and flexible supported return-to-work programs for bereaved workers.

Recommendation 6

That Employment and Social Development Canada undertake a review of Employment Insurance sickness benefits with a view to ensuring that vulnerable workers who are unable to work due to bereavement or high-risk pregnancy do not experience job loss or undue financial hardship.

This review should, while respecting the privacy rights of individuals:

  • Gather data on the number of workers who use Employment Insurance sickness benefits to support bereavement and high-risk pregnancy;
  • Gather data on the numbers of workers who use EI sickness for this purpose and exhaust their benefits; and
  • Gather data on workers who need this support but are are unable to access EI sickness benefits; and
  • Use this data in consultation with parents and families with lived experience to develop policies and benefits that support appropriate periods of income replacement, long-term labour force attachment and flexible supported return-to-work.

Recommendation 7

That Employment and Social Development Canada should change the eligibility requirements for Employment Insurance as they relate to maternity and parental benefits so bereavement leave is accommodated in the programme and provides income support for 12 to 15 weeks for parents grieving the loss of an infant child.