Tips and resources to help you throughout your caregiving journey

Are you eligible for compassionate care benefits?

Does your mom or dad have a terminal diagnosis? Do you want to be able to provide end-of-life care? There is a federal caregiver benefits program that can help you if you want to take time off work in order to provide this care.

Compassionate care benefits program

The Compassionate Care Benefit (CCB) entitles eligible Canadian caregivers up to twenty-six (26) weeks, within a 52-week period of paid leave from work, in order to take care of a terminally-ill family member. Terminal illness is defined as someone who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks.

An eligible family member is considered to be a relative in your immediate or extended marital or common-law family. Service Canada’s definition of a family member is broad enough to include your in-laws, step-family members, and, in extreme cases, a close friend or neighbour.

How CCB works

Because Compassionate Care Benefits are administered by Employment Insurance (EI), you need to be able to show in your online CCB form application, that you are experiencing more than a 40% decrease in your regular weekly earnings because of your caregiving duties, and that you have worked in excess of 600 hours in the last 52 weeks (or since the start of a previous claim).

You can receive the maximum of 26 weeks yourself or you can share compassionate care benefits with other members of your family (they must also apply and qualify for these benefits). If you are self-employed, you can apply for these benefits if you have paid EI premiums for at least 52 weeks.

In order to prove that your family member is terminally ill, he or she must fill out and sign the Authorization to Release a Medical Certificate form. In addition, your family member’s medical doctor must complete and sign the Medical Certificate for Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits form, signifying that the person you’re taking care of is at significant risk of death within 26 weeks. These forms are used to calculate and finalize your CCB claim.

Applying for CCB can take up to an hour on the Service Canada website or kiosk at the Service Canada Centre, but gathering the supporting documents you need may take longer, so it’s important to plan ahead. Don’t delay in filing your CCB claim – do it as soon as you stop working so you don’t lose any CCB benefits while your application is being processed.

Thanks to the Compassionate Care Benefits program, you won’t have to choose between taking care of a gravely-ill parent and having a job and income that is protected.

Visit Service Canada to learn more about the Compassionate Care Benefits program,  how to file a CCB application, and how to calculate your benefits. Bookmark this page in case you’re ever faced with this difficult situation.

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  • Cindy Craig
    Sun Sep 29 2019, 16:19
    My dad is dying of cancer we are not sure how long he has I just wanted to know if there is anything I can do to help him so I am able to be there for him and still be able to pay my bills.
  • Jenn Cleary
    Sat Mar 12 2022, 14:19
    I am self employed, my mother has brain cancer and I’m trying to find out if there is any support available for me to be to be her caretaker? She cannot be alone at any point and her prognosis is 9 months with treatment.
    • JaneVock
      Mon Apr 18 2022, 12:06
      I am sorry to report that when you are self employed and haven't paid into Employment Insurance, there is little support beyond tax benefits.
  • Robin canfield
    Sun Apr 24 2022, 16:30
    I have a very dear close friend thts dying with stage four cancer I reside in the home and he has aprox 6 months fr march , when should I apply to compasnate care benefits
    • JaneVock
      Mon Apr 25 2022, 12:53
      Hi Robin,First of all, I am sorry to hear about this really difficult caregiving situation with your dear close friend. And what you are doing is, in my mind, one of the most important things you will ever do. Your friend is most fortunate to have you as a friend and caregiver! You can collect a maximum of 26 weeks of compassionate care benefits. I hope this information is helpful. I know the timing of this can be challenging as time given is simply an estimate. Take good care, Jane