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Family Caregiver Leave

Region: Ontario Answer # 1604


What is Family Caregiver Leave?

Family caregiver leave is given to employees to provide care and support to family members who are seriously ill. In order to qualify for this leave, the employee must provide the employer with a certificate by a qualified health practitioner confirming that the family member has a serious medical condition.

Under the Employment Standards Act, family caregiver leave provides up-to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year, per “specified” family member. Leave is available to all employees who are covered by the Act, including full-time, part-time, permanent, or term contract. An employee does not have to be employed for a particular length of time to qualify to family caregiver leave.

What is considered care or support?

Under the Act, care or support includes:

  • providing psychological or emotional support,
  • arranging for care by a third-party provider, or
  • directly providing or participating in the care of the family member.

Who is considered a specified family member?

Family caregiver leave may be taken to care for the following family members:

  • the employee’s spouse (including same-sex spouse)
  • a parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse
  • a child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse
  • a grandparent or step-grandparent of the employee or the employee’s spouse
  • a grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or the employee’s spouse
  • a spouse of a child of the employee
  • a brother or sister of the employee
  • a relative of the employee who is dependent on the employee for care or assistance.

If the specified family member does not live in Ontario, the employee is still eligible for the leave.

Federal employees

Eligible federal employees are entitled to 5 days of bereavement leave in the event of a death of an immediate family member.


Get help

For more information, view the Government of Ontario’s Guide to the Employment Standards Act. For legal help and assistance, contact an employment lawyer.

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