**UPDATE**

Our May 14, 2019 webinar on understanding the parental sharing benefit and the caregiving benefits is now full!

If you wanted to attend, please go to the registration page (via the link below) and sign up for the waitlist to receive priority access to the recording, and/or to receive priority access if a spot becomes available.

Sign up for waitlist and recording access!

On May 14, 2019 at 12 p.m. EDT, the Vanier Institute of the Family is hosting a public webinar for HR professionals, labour representatives and employers on the parental sharing benefit and the caregiving benefits in Canada, focused on effectively managing family leaves within workplaces.

Andrew Brown (Director General, Employment Insurance Policy) and Rutha Astravas (Director, Employment Insurance Special Benefits) from Employment and Social Development Canada will present on the changes to parental leave that came into effect on March 17, 2019, including the new “use it or lose it” 5- to 8-week leave available to second parents.1, 2

Vanier Institute CEO Nora Spinks will facilitate conversation with webinar participants, providing the “family lens” as we explore the impact of these new benefits on employers, employees and their families in Canada.

Preliminary Agenda

Subject to change

  • Facilitator: Nora Spinks, CEO, The Vanier Institute of the Family
  • 12:00 p.m. – Welcome and Introductions
  • 12:05 p.m. – Parental Sharing Benefit and Caregiving Benefits
    • Andrew Brown, Director General, Employment Insurance Policy, ESDC
    • Rutha Astravas, Director, Employment Insurance Special Benefits, ESDC
  • 12:30 p.m. – Discussion
  • 12:55 p.m. – Closing Remarks

Andrew Brown
Director General, Employment Insurance Policy, Employment and Social Development Canada

Andrew Brown joined Employment and Social Development Canada in August 2014, where he serves as Director General, Employment Insurance Policy. Andrew leads a team responsible for developing changes to the Employment Insurance program and that is focused on responding to the changing nature of work and evolving family dynamics. He has degrees from Queen’s University (Kingston) and the University of Alberta, and lives with his partner in Ottawa.


Rutha Astravas
Director, Employment Insurance Special Benefits, Employment and Social Development Canada

Rutha Astravas is Director of Employment Insurance Special Benefits at Employment and Social Development Canada. EI special benefits include the new Family Caregiver Benefit, compassionate care, sickness, maternity and parental benefits. She has more than 15 years of experience at the federal level and holds a master’s degree in European Politics and Society from Oxford University, specializing in public policy and comparative federalism.


“As we’ve seen in Quebec and in other jurisdictions that have implemented similar policies, this type of benefit has been proven to encourage a more balanced sharing of child care responsibilities. This new measure will help us break down barriers to gender equality by shifting cultural attitudes against men taking parental leave and will help Canadians spend more time with their families.”

– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (March 15, 2019 news release)


1 Five weeks for those who take the year-long leave or eight weeks for those who choose the 18-month option introduced in 2018.

2 Includes adoptive parents.

Published on April 24, 2019