It's time for the thousands of children in Canada who are without parental care, and for whom reunification with a birth parent is unlikely or impossible, to have the opportunity to attach to someone who will be their adoptive, customary care, or kin parent. But this attachment may also take time that is not available to these new families, because of the way Canada's parental benefits system is structured. Notably, this system does not allow for the same amount of parental leave for them as it does for biological families.
Researchers at Western University are currently partnering with A4L: Ontario's Adoptive Parents Association to study parental leave benefits in Canada. Our focus is on parents who provide permanency to children who are in need of parental care: namely, adoptive, customary care, and kin parents. We're interested in how these parents use and experience the Employment Insurance benefits they are entitled to (if or when they are entitled to these benefits).
Overall, we want to determine whether Canada's system is fair to, and sufficient to meet the needs of, parents who provide permanency to children. Part of this work involves an online survey. The results of it, along with the rest of our research, will inform a report that we will submit to the Federal Government about whether it ought to expand EI benefits for adoptive, customary care, and kin parents.
This research is funded through an open research grant provided by the Social Science and Humanities Review Board (SSHRB) at Western University.