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e-3589 (Social affairs and equality)

Initiated by Sandra Patricia Escalera Gonzalez from Quebec, Quebec

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Minister of National Revenue

  • The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is designated to help families with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age;
  • Around 5.1 per 1,000 children under 18 years of age die every year in Canada from different causes;
  • Losing a child generates unexpected monetary expenses for grieving families, most of whom had been already struggling with the cost of caring for a seriously ill child;
  • The funeral and burial costs for a child should be considered as part of the costs associated with raising the deceased child;
  • Funeral costs, as well as other expenses associated with death, can be significant and there is no public program to help families to cover said expenses when a child dies;
  • It would be in line with the spirit of the CCB program to continue providing payments for two months after the death of a child to help with the burden of funeral costs; and
  • The limited extension of the CCB after the death of a child would not represent an excessive burden in the public budget, as the cost would be greatly offset by the benefit this would represent for grieving families.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of National Revenue to immediately act to modify the rules of operation of the Canada Child Benefit to continue CCB payments for two months after the death of a child under 18 years old.

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Chrystia Freeland

The loss of a child is an extremely sad and difficult time for families and the Government of Canada provides support to families caring for their sick or injured child, or who find themselves in this very tragic situation of having lost a child, through various programs. For example:

  • Employment Insurance (EI) family caregiver benefits for children provide up to 35 weeks of income support to workers who are unable to work to take care of a child who is critically ill or injured;
  • EI compassionate care benefits provide up to 26 weeks of income support to workers who are unable to work when they have to take care of a person who requires end-of-life care;
  • EI sickness benefits are available to eligible parents when they are unable to work due to emotional or psychological distress, including grieving, and is available for up to 15 weeks when they need time off work following the death of their child; and
  • EI maternity benefits continue to be payable following the loss of a child, as they are designed to support a birth mother’s physical and emotional recovery for up to 15 weeks surrounding childbirth.

The Government of Canada also provides support through the Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime for parents or legal guardians who have taken time away from work and suffered a loss of income to cope with the death or disappearance of their child or children. The benefit provides eligible parents with payments of $450 per week, paid every 2 weeks, for a maximum of 35 weeks over a period of 2 years.

The death or disappearance of a child is devastating and can often leave parents grief stricken and unable to work. The Government of Canada will continue to ensure appropriate support is provided to grieving families.

Open for signature
October 19, 2021, at 10:02 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
December 18, 2021, at 10:02 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Joël Lightbound (Louis-Hébert)
May 20, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00506)
Government response tabled
August 17, 2022
Photo - Joël Lightbound
Liberal Caucus
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