Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My question goes to Ms. Vasseur.
We received a brief from UNICEF Canada recommending that Bill C-243 be accompanied by federal legislation. It would provide for a new benefit, separate from the employment insurance program, and intended for pregnant women who cannot remain in their positions because of dangerous working conditions. It could be similar to the one provided in Quebec.
As I was saying earlier, and as Ms. Ballard also rightly said, Service Canada people could not handle it. In Quebec, public health authorities evaluate the risk posed by the work environment. A public health doctor makes a recommendation to the doctor looking after the pregnancy.
In Bill C-243, we are dealing with “calendar weeks”. This is the same situation after the changes in the recent budget that provided for 12 weeks of maternity benefits before the due date.
A witness came to our last meeting and told us that, in Quebec, workers who take preventive withdrawal in the last 15 weeks of pregnancy are in the minority.
In some workplaces, the first 20 weeks of pregnancy are when those working with small children are exposed to viruses. In some occupations, the baby is least protected in the first trimester.
In your view, should our approach be calculated on the basis of the risks rather than on a “calendar” approach?