moved for leave to introduce Bill C-323, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (compassionate care benefits for dependent children).
Mr. Speaker, I am introducing to the House this private member's bill which amends the Employment Insurance Act in order to allow the parents of sick children to be eligible for employment insurance.
As most people are aware, when a family lives in a region where specialized children's hospitals are not nearby, it is very difficult for parents of a sick child to get to hospital with their child and at the same time continue to work in order to support the whole family. This is a reality that exists, and the parent who has to stop work in order to be with a child in a specialized hospital is no longer providing any revenue for the family unit. It is already hard enough to have a sick child, and it is still harder when there is no longer any income.
This private member's bill enables a parent to draw employment insurance benefits while attending to a child in a hospital located outside the region of residence. I have heard much about this situation from parents in recent months and years. It is very important for the House to examine this situation and it is also important to ensure that the public is made aware of it so that financial assistance can be provided to parents most in need of it. We must ensure that what their child is going through does not also have a negative financial impact on the entire family.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)