Parental Leave in Ontario

Growing your family can be an exciting an meaningful part of any life. Canada, and the province of Ontario, understand this. The Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Labour has ensured that new mothers and fathers are provided with time off work and job security after the birth of their children. Thanks to this, having a child in Ontario can be a time of joy, not worry or stress.

A full list of benefits and rights can be found here with the Ministry of Labour, but here are some important facts about your rights regarding Parental Leave in Ontario.


For Pregnant women:

Pregnant women are granted up to 17 weeks of pregnancy leave in Ontario.  During this time, employers do not pay waged, but the they must allow mothers to have this time off to be with their newborns, whether the mother is a part-time, full-time, temporary or contract employee so long as her job is covered by the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and she  began working at her place of employment at least 13 weeks prior to the leave. Pregnancy leave can typically begin 17 weeks before the date the baby is due, but if she begins her leave 17 weeks prior to a due date and does not give birth on that date, the leave can continue.

Parental leave in Ontario:

New fathers and mothers are both eligible for parental leave in Ontario. Typically, parental leave is 35 weeks, though mothers who chose not to take pregnancy leave can have 37 weeks of parental leave. As with pregnancy leave, new parents’ jobs need to be covered by the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and must have begun at least 13 weeks prior to the leave. The leave is granted to birth parents, adoptive parents, and unmarried significant others of  a parent, who plans on having the child in his or her life as though it was his or her own. Typically, this leave happens 52 weeks or fewer after the birth or beginning of adoption or care, though it does not have to be finished within this time period. Parental leave needs to be taken all together (parents cannot take some time off, go back to work, and then take more time later). Like pregnancy leave, parental leave is unpaid.

Other rights for pregnancy and parental leave in Ontario:

Not only are new parents guaranteed time off, but the majority of the time, they are required to have the same job, or a very similar job when they return, and receive the same wages. Further, they cannot be penalized in any way for taking this time off, and must be allowed to participate in the same benefit plans as prior to the leave (pension plans, life insurance plans, etc.)


From all of us here at, we hope the time you take for growing your family is joyful and secure!


Want to learn more about pregnancy and reproductive rights in Ontario? Sign up for and visit “The Guide” Read the “Health and Wellbeing” and “Families” sections for more helpful information.


(photo:  Tipstime/pregnancy via Flickr, cc and Laura Nelson via Flickr, cc)


About Jerry

Before my family and I relocated to Canada where I received a teaching opportunity at one of the country’s renowned universities, my wife and kids were naturally full of questions. What would the schools be like? How does healthcare work? Is Canadian French very different than European French? What about Canadian English verses European English? How cold are those frigid northern winters we’ve heard so much about? The only way to fully understand a new city or country is to experience it first-hand. My family and I decided to embrace our relocation as an adventure. Years after the move, we still consider “The Great White North” our home, and we couldn’t be more satisfied with our quality of life here. // Avant que ma famille et moi-même soyons relocalisés au Canada parce que j’ai eu l’opportunité d’aller enseigner dans l’une des universités assez réputée du pays, ma femme et mes enfants avaient naturellement beaucoup de questions. A quoi ressemblent les écoles ? Comment fonctionne le système de santé ? Le français canadien est-il vraiment différent de celui parlé en France ? L’anglais canadien est-il vraiment différent de celui parlé en Europe? Est-ce que les hivers sont vraiment très rigoureux? La meilleure façon de comprendre entièrement une nouvelle ville et un pays est d’en faire personnellement l’expérience. Ma famille et moi avons décidé de voir la relocalisation comme une aventure. Quelques années plus tard, nous considérons “Le Grand Nord Blanc” comme notre maison et nous ne pourrions pas être plus satisfaits.