Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.
The first petition is signed by dozens of Manitobans and calls for equal employment insurance benefits for adoptive parents. The current EI program provides adoptive parents with 35 weeks of paid leave, followed by a further 15 weeks of unpaid leave. A biological mother is given both the first 35 weeks and the latter 15 weeks as paid leave.
We all know that adoptions are expensive, lengthy and stressful to the adoptive parents and their family. There have been recent studies that have shown an additional 15 weeks of paid leave would help the parents support their adoptive children and would help them through a very difficult period.
The petition calls on the Government of Canada to support Bill C-413 tabled by the MP for Burnaby—New Westminster, which would amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code and ensure that adoptive parents are entitled to the same number of weeks of paid leave as a biological mother of a newborn child.