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 parent or their customary or kin caregiver. Such an attachment may also take time, however, that is not available to these families, because of the way Canada's parental benefits system is structured. Notably, this system does not allow them the same amount of parental leave as it does biological families (if it allows them any parental leave at all).
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 people who provide permanency to children who are in need of parental care: namely, people who adopt children or provide them with customary or kinship care. We're interested in how these people 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, people who provide permanency to children. Part of this work involves an online survey (which ended July 19, 2018). 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 the parents or caregivers who are the focus of our research.
This research is funded through an open research grant provided by the Social Science and Humanities Review Board (SSHRB) at Western University.