Government Announces New Income Support Program for Parents of Victims of Crime

May 03, 2021

Ottawa Journal (Ottawa Journal (May 07 – May 11, 2021)
David Tilson, MP

It is unimaginable to bear the thought of the death or disappearance of a child. However, the unfortunate reality is that for many Canadian families, this is something they’ve had to endure and has required time away from their employment to cope and recover. Our Government recognizes the many difficult financial struggles these families face and in response, has announced a new income support program for parents struggling to cope with the death or disappearance of a child as a result of a crime.

On April 20, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, made the announcement of the new income support program, as part of our Government’s continued action to be tougher on crime and in delivering on our commitment to provide more support to victims and their families.

Beginning on January 1, 2013, this new income support benefit – which is expected to support an estimated 1,000 families annually – will provide $350 per week for up to 35 weeks to parents of murdered or missing children (less than 18 years of age) whose death or disappearance is the result of a Criminal Code offence. Support for this new income benefit is being provided through the Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered or Missing Children.

In order to receive this new benefit, affected parents will need to have earned a minimal level of income in the previous calendar year ($6,500) and take leave from their employment. The Government will propose amendments to the Canada Labour Code to allow for unpaid leave for employees under federal jurisdiction to ensure that their jobs are protected while they are receiving the new benefit.

If the missing child is found while the benefit is being paid, the benefits will continue for two weeks after the child is found to allow the parents to spend time with their child. This will be contingent on meeting other entitlement criteria (that is, they have not resumed working, they have not exhausted their benefits, and it has not been more than one year since the disappearance). Parents can apply for this program through Service Canada.

The new income support program responds to the concerns and calls of victims’ groups and delivers on our Government’s commitment to support the parents of murdered or missing children. It is also part of the Government’s ongoing actions to support victims of crime and is in line with the Federal Victims Strategy, which aims to improve the experience of victims of crime in the criminal justice system.