Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau pledges to make parental leave more flexible

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      Justin Trudeau is promising that a Liberal government would make parental leave more flexible for Canadians.

      Flanked by party candidates and kids in Vancouver, the Liberal leader announced plans to add two new options to the parental benefits available under employment insurance.

      "These changes will mean parents will have more flexibility and security during those first crucial 18 months after childbirth, which can often be the most challenging for parents," Trudeau said at Le Centre culturel francophone de Vancouver. "This added flexibility will increase the use of parental leave benefits, which means it would translate into an investment of $125 million more per year in the economic security of Canadian families, and it will not mean any increases to employment insurance premiums."

      A party news release describes the two options being proposed:

      • "An option that allows parents to receive their benefits in smaller blocks of time over a period of up to 18 months. For example, a single mother could receive benefits for six months, return to work for six months while a relative provides child care, then go back on parental leave and receive benefits for another six months; and 
      • "An option of taking a longer leave – up to 18 months when combined with maternity benefits – at a lower benefit level. This flexibility would also apply for families where two parents split the use of parental benefits."
      Watch Justin Trudeau talk about parental leave.
      Stephen Hui

      Trudeau said: "We need to give choices to parents, so they can actually be more productive, while at the same time protecting and enhancing their quality of life, particularly with a new baby at home."