Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos defended Service Canada’s decision to ask its employees to adopt gender-neutral language when interacting with the public, as members of the opposition mocked the policy mercilessly. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Demand for EI sickness benefits on the rise; NDP cites need for update

Demand for sickness benefits under federal employment insurance program has reached a 10-year high

More and more Canadians are applying for federal help as they take time away from work to battle serious illness — and almost four out of every 10 applicants are maxing out their benefits.

Since 2015, demand for sickness benefits under the federal employment insurance program has reached a 10-year high, with more than half of successful applicants taking 10 or more weeks’ worth of payments.

The figures, contained in a recent report to Parliament, show more than 142,000 people used their maximum allotment of 15 weeks in 2017, an increase of about eight per cent from the previous year.

WATCH: NDP gives Liberal budget ‘failing grade’ on gender equality

READ MORE: Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave

NDP jobs critic Niki Ashton says the fact that so many people are using up their benefit is evidence that the 47-year-old program needs an update.

A spokesman for Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says the government has already made improvements to sickness benefits to give people more options for returning to work.

In the 2018 budget, the Liberal government agreed to allow new parents and those recovering from illnesses to work while receiving benefits without jeopardizing their EI payments.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Langley, Nelson, Abbotsford riders takes top spots in horse vaulting at BC Games

This weekend, athletes took to the Cowichan to deliver their best poses on horseback

‘Farm the Kootenays’ creates supportive community

Helping hobbyists and serious producers alike, the Facebook group has grown to nearly 12,000 members

Two fires of note burning in Southeast Fire Centre

As of Saturday afternoon there were more than 20 fires burning in the Southeast Fire Centre.

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

ZONE 1: Hannah Tracey looks to mom as role model while at BC Games

‘She has believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself,’ Tracey said at BC Summer Games in Cowichan

Most Read