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Unpaid Illness & Family Care Leave Rights Across Canada

Employees who contract COVID-19 or have family members that become infected or have to go into self-isolation are likely to invoke their employment standards rights to take a leave of absence. And while all jurisdictions allow for unpaid leave for illness and caring for family members, leave rights vary dramatically by province. Use this Cheat Sheet to keep track of the relevant leave entitlements of each jurisdiction.

Leave Rights Pertaining to Coronavirus

There are 9 potential forms of leave that could apply to coronavirus, depending on the jurisdiction:

  • Newly created COVID-19 leave: FED, AB, BC, YK;
  • Newly created leave for COVID-19 and other public health emergencies: MB, NB, NL, ON, PEI, SK;
  • Sick leave: Fed, NB, NL, NS, NT, ON, PEI, QC, SK, YK;
  • Injury/Illness leave: Fed, AB, BC, MB, SK;
  • Compassionate care leave: All but QC;
  • Family responsibility leave: AB, BC, MB, NB, NL, ON, PE, QC;
  • Critically ill child care leave: All;
  • Critically ill adult care leave: All but PEI;
  • Bereavement leave: All but SK and NU; and
  • Personal leave: Fed.

These leaves are generally unpaid. But there are limited exceptions. For example, several jurisdictions provide for paid bereavement leave.

Leaves Relevant to Coronavirus Across Canada
(parentheses indicate minimum service for eligibility)
FEDERAL
Compassionate Care 28 weeks
Family Responsibility
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 37 weeks Adult: 17 weeks
Sick Leave 17 weeks (3 months)
Illness or Injury Workers’ comp equiv.
Bereavement 3 days paid, 2 days unpaid
Personal 3 days paid, 2 days unpaid (3 months)
COVID-19/Pub. Health Emerg. Up to 24 weeks
ALBERTA
Compassionate Care 27 weeks
Family Responsibility 5 days
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 36 weeks Adult: 16 weeks
Sick Leave
Illness or Injury 16 weeks
Bereavement 3 days
Personal
COVID-19/Pub. Health Emerg. *Up to 14 days for quarantine or self-isolation *As long as necessary to care for kids due to COVID
BRITISH COLUMBIA
Compassionate Care 27 weeks
Family Responsibility 5 days
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 36 weeks Adult: 16 weeks
Sick Leave 3 days (90 days)
Illness or Injury
Bereavement 3 days
Personal
COVID-19/Pub. Health Emerg. As long as need for leave lasts, retroactive to Jan. 27, 2020
MANITOBA
Compassionate Care 28 weeks (90 days)
Family Responsibility 3 days (30 days)
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 37 weeks Adult: 17 weeks
Sick Leave
Illness or Injury 17 weeks (90 days)
Bereavement
Personal
COVID-19/Pub. Health Emerg. As long as need for leave lasts, retroactive to March 1, 2020
NEW BRUNSWICK
Compassionate Care 28 weeks
Family Responsibility 3 days
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 37 weeks Adult: 16 weeks
Sick Leave 5 days (90 days)
Illness or Injury
Bereavement 5 days
Personal
COVID-19/Pub. Health Emerg. Up to 15 weeks
NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR
Compassionate Care 28 weeks (30 days)
Family Responsibility 7 days (30 days)
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 37 weeks Adult: 17 weeks (30 days)
Sick Leave 7 days (30 days)
Illness or Injury
Bereavement 1 day paid, 2 days unpaid (30 days)
Personal
COVID-19/Pub. Health Emerg. For as long as need for leave lasts
NOVA SCOTIA
Compassionate Care 28 weeks
Family Responsibility
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 37 weeks Adult: 16 weeks
Sick Leave 3 days
Illness or Injury
Bereavement 5 days
Personal
ONTARIO
Compassionate Care 28 weeks
Family Responsibility 8 weeks
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 37 weeks Adult: 17 weeks
Sick Leave 3 days
Illness or Injury
Bereavement 2 days
Personal
COVID-19/Pub. Health Emerg. For as long as infectious disease public emergency remains in effect
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Compassionate Care 28 weeks
Family Responsibility 3 days (6 months)
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 37 weeks
Sick Leave 3 days + 1 paid day after 5 years of employment
Illness or Injury
Bereavement Immediate Family: 1 day paid, 2 days unpaid; Extended Family: 3 days unpaid
Personal
COVID-19/Pub. Health Emerg. As long as need for leave lasts
QUÉBEC
Compassionate Care
Family Responsibility 26 weeks
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 36 weeks Adult: 16 weeks OR 27 weeks for potentially fatal illness + 104 weeks for fatal illness of child
Sick Leave 2 days paid
Illness or Injury 26 weeks
Bereavement Immediate Family: 2 days paid, 1 day unpaid; Extended Family: 1 day unpaid
Personal
SASKATCHEWAN
Compassionate Care 28 weeks
Family Responsibility
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 37 weeks Adult: 17 weeks
Sick Leave 12 days (13 weeks)
Illness or Injury 12 weeks
Bereavement 5 days
Personal
COVID-19/Pub. Health Emerg. For as long as public health emergency remains in effect
NORTHWEST TERRITORIES
Compassionate Care 27 weeks
Family Responsibility
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 37 weeks Adult: 16 weeks
Sick Leave 5 days
Illness or Injury
Bereavement 3 to 7 days depending on location
Personal
NUNAVUT
Compassionate Care 8 weeks
Family Responsibility
Family Critical Illness Care
Sick Leave
Illness or Injury
Bereavement
Personal
YUKON TERRITORY
Compassionate Care 28 weeks
Family Responsibility
Family Critical Illness Care Child: 37 weeks Adult: 17 weeks
Sick Leave 1 day per month
Illness or Injury
Bereavement 7 days
Personal
COVID-19/Pub. Health Emerg. Up to 14 days, to be taken in one continuous period just once per employee

Takeaway

Keep in mind that employment standards requirements represent minimum leave entitlements. Like many employers, your leave provisions may be more generous than the law requires. So, you need to check the terms of applicable collective agreements, employment contracts and HR policies to ensure the employment standard minimums listed in this Cheat Sheet apply to your own employees.