Three sections of the bill came into force on thatdate, while those dealing with employment insurance amendments willcome into force on a later date to be determined by the government.Bill C-44 includes several revisions to the Employment InsuranceAct, which operate to: extend parental benefits by an additional 26 weeks for a totalof 61 weeks; allow parental benefits for birth mothers to be paid over alonger period at a lower benefit rate; allow expectant mothers to collect benefits up to 12 weeksbefore their due date, as opposed to the current eight-week period;and create a 'caregiving' benefit for family members caringfor a critically ill adult or critically ill child. The bill also amends the Canada Labour Code to provide similar,slightly greater increases to parental leave and maternity leave,and to create a comparable leave for family members caring forcritically ill adults or children for federal-sector employees. Inaddition, the amendments to the Canada Labour Code significantlyexpand the authority of the Canada Industrial Relations Board(CIRB) by providing it with the powers, duties and functions ofappeals officers under the code. This gives the CIRB jurisdictionto consider: unjust dismissal adjudications of non-union employees; penalty appeals under the sections of the code dealing withoccupational health and safety, and employment standards. Similar changes were recently proposed in Alberta. Following aperiod of public consultation, Bill17: the Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act was passed bythe Alberta legislature on June 5 2017 and received royal assent onJune 7 2017. Most changes will come into effect on January 1 2018.To align with the federal amendments, Alberta will: increase the terms of existing leaves; and add new types of leave, including for long-term illness orinjury, for domestic violence, or to care for a critically injuredchild. Other changes include amendments to overtime pay, holiday pay,rest periods and minimum age requirements that are favourable toemployees. More controversial amendments will also be implemented. Theseinclude changes making it easier for workplaces to becomeunionised.
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