For the last three years, NAWL has been exploring ways of improving maternity and parental benefits for women living outside Québec. The NAWL Working Group has had several in-depth discussions on this issue, did extensive research on existing literature in Québec, Canada and abroad, and has consulted widely with women across Canada.
On May 10, 2007, NAWL organized a workshop with activists from women’s groups and labour to discuss a series of law reform proposals that the Working group had developed. We were most fortunate to benefit from the expertise and generous contributions to our thinking from the participants in this workshop, and we wish to express our gratitude, in particular, to the participants who took the time to prepare presentations that helped us focus our thinking and our analysis.
We are very pleased to have come out of these discussions with a strong consensus on several recommendations to improve the maternity and parental benefits regime under the Employment Insurance Act (EI Act). We have also started to identify areas for future discussions, toward the development of a complementary universal benefits program that would benefit low income women, and women who are not attached to the labour market. Finally, all participants agreed that improving maternity and parental benefits is an important, but not a sufficient step: it is also essential to ensure that universal, quality childcare and early education programs be offered to all children. Indeed, mothers need financial support when they take a caregiver role but they also need a way to get back into the work force and balance work and care giving responsibilities. Ensuring that parental responsibilities are shared, and that mothers maintain financial independence as well as access to the workforce are key to fostering women’s real equality, in the family and in society.
en’s groups and labour organization for a strategic workshop to discuss a series of law reform proposals. We are very pleased to have come out of these discussions with a strong consensus on several recommendations to improve the maternity and parental benefits regime under the Employment Insurance Act (EI Act).
photo credit: giulia moretti http://www.flickr.com/photos/22883295@N05/