Statutory Leaves of Absence

 Ontario’s  Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) provides qualified employees with the right to take job protected leaves for a variety of reasons. These various leaves are listed below, along with links to more information about the nature, purpose, and eligibility requirement for such leaves. 

 You may also be eligible to receive Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits during a job protected leave of absence.

To request any type of leave of absence, you must complete a Leave of Absence Form

Please be sure to read the government information at the links provided on this webpage, as well as your collective agreement, University policy or employment contract as may be applicable.  If you have any questions about your entitlements as it relates to a leave of absence from work, please contact 

Pregnancy and/or Parental Leave

The Employment Standards Act of Ontario includes the following provisions for unpaid, job-protected Pregnancy and/or Parental Leave:

  • Pregnancy Leave of up to 17 weeks for birth mothers;
  • Parental Leave of up to 63 weeks for new parents, or up to 61 weeks for birth mothers who also take Pregnancy leave.

To be eligible for Pregnancy Leave, you must have started employment at Lakehead University at least 13 weeks before the date the baby is expected to be born (the "due date").

To be eligible for Parental Leave, you must have been employed by Lakehead University for at least 13 weeks before commencing the leave.

Information about your right to take Pregnancy and/or Parental Leave is available in the Ontario government’s Guide to the Employment Standards Act.

Employment Insurance (EI)

The federal Employment Insurance Act provides eligible employees with maternity and/or parental benefits that may be payable to the employee during an ESA pregnancy and/or parental leave. Information about your eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits during a Pregnancy and/or Parental leave is available through the Government of Canada.

Lakehead University Top-up Benefit/Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) Plan

Lakehead University has supplemental top-up benefits for pregnancy and/or parental leaves. To learn about top-up benefits available and to determine if you qualify, please refer to the appropriate Collective Agreement or University Policy.

How to Apply for Lakehead University Top-up Benefit

Upon receipt of your leave of absence form, our Human Resources Administrator will send you the top-up agreement to sign.

  • Note: In order to be eligible for the Lakehead University top-up benefit, an employee must be in receipt of Employment Insurance benefits.

Top-up payments will not be made until the employee provides documentation confirming their receipt of maternity/parental EI benefits.

Documentation required: This information is available online in your “My Service Canada Account”.  Go to your “My Latest Claim” screen, which outlines the weekly EI benefit rate (before tax) and the waiting period, if any. 

  • Note:  Due to Service Canada and Lakehead University payroll processing timelines, even a timely application may result in delayed top-up payments.
Employee Benefits while on the Leave

Employees who take a Pregnancy and/or Parental Leave will be entitled to pension, health, disability and other benefits, provided the employee is eligible for (and is participating in) these benefits and they continue to contribute their normal share of the cost. Upon receipt of your Leave of Absence form, our HR Administrator will send you this information in the form of a benefit continuation letter.

  • Employer Paid Benefits
    • For the duration of the leave, the University will continue Green Shield Extended Health, Dental, and Basic Group Life Insurance.
  • Employee Paid Benefits
    • This includes Long-Term Disability (LTD), and Optional Life Insurances.
    • Employees wishing to continue participation in any of these, must complete and return their benefit continuation letter prior to the start of their leave.
Pension while on Leave

While on Pregnancy and/or Parental Leave the employee has the option to continue their pension contributions. The University will continue to match pension contributions only if the employee contributes their portion.

Vacation, Sick Leave, and Seniority/Service

These will continue to accrue while on pregnancy and/or parental leave in accordance with the ESA.