moved for leave to introduce Bill C-487, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Income Tax Act (support for grandparents).
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Pierrefonds—Dollard for supporting my bill.
Today, I am happy to introduce my bill to amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Income Tax Act to support grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.
The 2011 census indicated there are over 75,000 children in Canada being raised by grandparents. These families are called skipped generation households. This is a dramatic increase of over 50% in just 20 years. In fact the figure of 75,000 children in these families is probably the tip of the iceberg, knowing that many of these arrangements are informal.
The main issue here is financial assistance for the grandparents who step up during a family crisis to take care of children. Most grandparents who raise a grandchild with no parents present are ineligible for the child care expenses deduction because they do not work or have a partner with no income. My bill will remove these barriers. My bill will also permit grandparents to receive employment insurance benefits for parental leave to take care of grandchildren under the age of five.
In some of these households, there are mental health issues, drug issues or other social issues. Thanks to organizations such as CANGRANDS, which is here today, these grandparents have stepped up to prevent their grandchildren from being placed into care and are frequently already struggling to make ends meet on limited incomes. The least we can do is recognize this and afford them the same benefits biological parents would receive.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)