The Ontario government has introduced legislation, which, if passed, would provide eligible employees with three new types of unpaid, job-protected leaves of absence in addition to those leaves already available under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

The three proposed leaves are: 1) Family Caregiver Leave; 2) Critically Ill Childcare Leave; and 3) Crime-Related Child Death or Disappearance Leave.

Family Caregiver Leave

Under the proposed legislation, an employee could take an unpaid leave of up to eight weeks to care for certain individuals when a physician (or other “qualified health practitioner”) has declared that the individual has a “serious medical condition”. While not exhaustive, an “individual” includes spouses, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings and dependent relatives.

Critically Ill Child Care Leave

This proposed leave would allow an employee, who has been employed for at least six consecutive months, to take up to 37 weeks of unpaid leave to care for his or her critically ill child.

Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance Leave

This type of leave would allow an employee, who has been employed for at least six consecutive months, to take an unpaid leave of up to 104 weeks where his or her child dies as a result of a crime. Similarly, that employee would be entitled to a leave of up to 52 weeks where his or her child has disappeared as a result of a crime. However, an employee would not be entitled to this leave of absence if he or she is charged with the crime or if it is probable that the child was a party to the crime.