The Québec Appeal Court decision on the Constitutionality of Maternity and Parental Benefits as Employment Insurance Benefits

On January 27th, 2004, the Québec Appeal Court ruled that the provisions of the Employment Insurance Act concerning maternity and parental benefits encroached on provincial jurisdiction and exceeded the powers of the Canadian Parliament. This ruling calls us to action, as the question of income during maternity and parental leave constitutes an absolutely pivotal issue in the struggle for women’s social and economic equality.

Table of Contents


  1. The current maternity and parental benefits regime
  2. Feminist critiques of the current regime
  3. Québec’s parental insurance scheme
  4. Critical analysis of the Québec Appeal Court’s decision
  5. Points at issue before the Supreme Court of Canada
  6. Respecting women’s human rights
  7. Future Directions


Appendix A: Proposals for Reform of Employment Insurance


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