Expecting a baby is a very exciting event in life. No matter if it is your first, second or third, your daily routine and the organization within your family will change. It raises many questions concerning the options for maternity leave, such as: which parent can take time from work? for how long? and with what impact?

There are usually three different types of leaves:


Can be taken by the mother, before or after the birth. In Canada you may receive up to 15 weeks (18 weeks in Quebec) of paid maternity leave starting earliest the 12th week (16th week in Quebec) before the expected date of birth.

However, from 6 weeks before the expected date of birth, your employer may demand a medical attestation, which confirms that you are still able to work. If you don’t provide this document within 8 days, he/she can insist that you start your maternity leave immediately.


Is specific to Quebec and has a duration of maximum 5 weeks, starting with the birth or later, but must end at the latest the 52nd week after the baby is born. It is not mandatory to take paternity leave.


In total there are 35 weeks (32 weeks in Quebec), which can be shared between the father and mother, to be added to the previous two. Parental leave can be taken simultaneously, but you cannot claim the benefits simultaneously.

Who is paying?

In all cases it is the government, as it is part of the Employment Insurance Plan. Indeed you must apply for the parental insurance program in Canada and in your province to receive any financial benefits during the period you are missing. Your employer just needs to guarantee your position with the same salary and benefits when you reach the deadline of the leave.

For further information see the homepage Service Canada.

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