NEWS RELEASE: Compassionate bereavement bill passes in Senate, will become Canadian law

June 22, 2021

OTTAWA, ON – A compassionate bereavement bill that will allow Canadian employees more time off work following a family member’s death has passed unanimously in the Senate of Canada and will become Canadian law.

Bill C-220, introduced by Edmonton Riverbend Member of Parliament Matt Jeneroux, will allow employees who work under the Canada Labour Code to have 10 days of bereavement leave following a family member’s death, a doubling of the current five days.

“This is extremely momentous. It is incredibly hard to get a Private Member’s Bill passed, but especially so in a minority Parliament during a pandemic,” said Jeneroux.

“But the pandemic has shown us that we need to have more bereavement supports in place for grieving Canadians, and all parties and Senate groups were willing to work together to make this bill a reality and help Canadians when they need it most.”

Fewer than two per cent of Private Member’s Bills successfully pass the Senate stage.

Jeneroux originally introduced the bill in the House of Commons in February 2020. After delays due to the pandemic, the bill started to pick up steam in the House of Commons earlier this year and was passed unanimously at third reading in early May.

It was then referred to the Senate for another three readings and committee study, which were done quickly to ensure passage of the bill before the summer break.

The bill was passed on June 21 will now receive Royal Assent and will become Canadian law. The provisions in the bill will come into force three months after Royal Assent to provide employers sufficient time to adjust their workplace policies and work with unions to modify collective agreements to align with the changes.

Bill C-220 builds on Jeneroux’s work in the Alberta Legislature, where he had a Private Member’s Bill passed in 2014 that introduced compassionate care leave in the province.

“Taking time to grieve after the death of a loved one is extremely important, and the passing of the bill is the first step to securing bereavement supports for more Canadians to use if necessary,” said Jeneroux.