moved for leave to introduce Bill C-234, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (maximum — special benefits).
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present this bill, which would extend the maximum period for which employment insurance benefits for serious illness may be paid from 15 to 50 weeks.
This bill was introduced in previous Parliaments, but has never been passed at third reading. It is important to amend this 40-year-old measure. The amendment to paragraph 12(3)(c) of the act would allow people with serious illnesses to receive more than 15 weeks of benefits, as is currently the case. Marie-Hélène Dubé, who was behind a petition presented in the House in this regard, said:
A society that supports the sick during a critical time in their lives is a healthy society that helps these people to recover and reintegrate into society by avoiding the trap of personal and social poverty.
A few weeks of benefits can make all the difference. In order to give everyone an equal opportunity to overcome illness and recover, it is of the utmost importance that we extend the sickness benefit period so that everyone can obtain decent and fair compensation.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)