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e-4349 (Health)

Initiated by Lanna Lastiwka from Vancouver, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

    We, the undersigned, citizens of canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to offer state-funded paid leave (3-5 days a month) for people who suffer from painful periods.

    Response by the Minister of Labour and Seniors

    Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Terry Sheehan

    The Government of Canada recognizes that citizens of Canada have petitioned the House of Commons to offer three to five days a month of state-funded paid leave for people who suffer from painful periods.

    The Government of Canada acknowledges that no one should have to choose between staying home when they are suffering from health issues or paying their bills. This is why the Government of Canada delivered on its commitment to provide medical leave with pay for employees in federally regulated workplaces.

    Since December 1, 2022, the Canada Labour Code (Code) gives employees in federally regulated workplaces the right to earn and take up to ten days of medical leave with pay per year. These days are paid for by the employer. Access to medical leave with pay empowers employees to prioritize their health and improves working conditions for the nearly one million employees in the federally regulated private sector.

    In addition to these leaves, there are other protections that exist under the Code that could support an employee experiencing painful periods. These include:

    •           Unpaid breaks for medical reasons if needed during the working day, subject to obtaining a medical  certificate from a health care practitioner;

    •           The right to an unpaid break of 30 minutes for every five hours of work; and

    •           A right to request flexible work arrangements for employees with six months of continuous employment. This right allows employees to request a change to their hours of work, work schedules or location of work.

    Furthermore, for Canadian employed and self-employed workers, on December 18, 2022, Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits were permanently extended from 15 weeks to 26 weeks. The change to EI sickness benefits will provide approximately 169,000 Canadians per year with additional time and flexibility to recover so they can return to work after an illness, injury or quarantine. EI sickness benefits are paid at 55% of the applicant’s average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum entitlement of $650 for 2023.

    To align with this permanent extension of EI sickness benefits, the maximum length of unpaid medical leave available to federally regulated private-sector employees was also increased from 17 to 27 weeks under the Code.

    Individuals unable to work due to painful periods can access this leave. They may also qualify for the sickness benefit if, among other things, their weekly earnings from work are decreased by more than 40% for at least one week. Information for eligibility to EI sickness benefits is available at:

    The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with Parliamentarians, stakeholders, employers and unions to strengthen Canada’s federally regulated workplaces and is committed to fairer and safer working conditions for everyone across the country. The Government of Canada will continue to encourage the provinces and territories to introduce or expand paid sick leave legislation for employees in their respective jurisdictions. This would benefit employees covered under provincial and territorial employment standards and who need to access paid leave for any personal health issue or injury, including those suffering from painful periods. 

    Open for signature
    March 29, 2023, at 2:20 p.m. (EDT)
    Closed for signature
    July 27, 2023, at 2:20 p.m. (EDT)
    Presented to the House of Commons
    Bonita Zarrillo (Port Moody—Coquitlam)
    September 20, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01631)
    Government response tabled
    November 3, 2023
    Photo - Bonita Zarrillo
    Port Moody—Coquitlam
    New Democratic Party Caucus
    British Columbia