April 30, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Ottawa, Canada – Canada’s Building Trades Unions and several other labor and trade organizations have endorsed a bill that would give pregnant women working in skilled trades maternity benefits more than three months before their babies are expected.
The bill, sponsored by Member of Parliament Mark Gerretsen (Liberal-Ontario), would let women who perform dangerous jobs and are unable to work due to their pregnancy get maternity benefits 15 weeks before their due date, seven weeks earlier than the current standard. Gerretsen said he decided to introduce the legislation after a pregnant welder in his district was evicted from her home when she followed her doctor’s advice to stop working, but was unable to receive paid maternity leave. “It is important to ensure employment insurance benefits are responsive to those situations where a woman’s pregnancy prevents full participation in the workplace,” Sarah Watts-Rynard of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum said in a statement. The bill would help “eliminate barriers for women considering a career in the skilled trades,” said CBTU operating officer Robert Blakely. Read more