Pregnancy & Parental Leave

Congratulations on welcoming a new addition to your family! PARO is committed to helping you understand the leave and benefits you are entitled to during this exciting time. We have created a guide that contains the information that you need to know which you can download.  Pregnancy & Parental Leave.

Pregnancy and Parental benefit information can be found under Article 11.5, 14.1, and 15 of the PARO-CAHO Agreement. As well, information about your Employment Insurance benefit entitlements can be found on the Service Canada website.


How long is pregnancy and parental leave?

All Ontarians are legally entitled to pregnancy and/or parental leave. Pregnancy leave, which applies only to a birth or surrogate mother, is 17 weeks. Parental leave is 35 weeks for birth or surrogate mothers that also take pregnancy leave and 37 weeks for an employee (including fathers, adoptive parents) who does not take pregnancy leave.


Will I receive Employment Insurance (EI) benefits?

Eligible employees on pregnancy and/or parental leave are entitled to government provided benefits (Employment Insurance or EI) payable during the time the employee is on leave.

  • To qualify for Employment Insurance, an employee is required to have accumulated 600 insurable hours in the last fifty-two (52) weeks since his/her last claim.
  • Attachment 11 “Employment Insurance Hours of Work,” of the PARO-CAHO Agreement provides that you are entitled to be credited with your actual hours of worked, rather than any hours recorded for payroll or other administrative purposes.
  • Parental leave benefits are shared per family for a maximum of 35 weeks. This means that the benefit is shared between two parents who can decide how the benefit is used. For example, one parent could take 25 weeks of the benefit and the other could take 10 weeks, or one parent could take the entire 35 weeks of benefits.
  • Each family must wait a one-week unpaid waiting period before receiving EI benefits. For example, a mother that takes pregnancy leave will be required to wait one week until she will be in receipt of funds. She will receive a total of 15 weeks of EI payments for her pregnancy leave.
  • When EI benefits are shared between parents, a single one-week waiting period may apply. For example, if the mother served the one-week waiting period during her pregnancy leave, neither parent would need to serve the waiting period for parental benefits.
  • Note: The leave time (provincial entitlement) is a separate entitlement from the EI benefit payments (federal entitlement). Even if you do not qualify for EI benefits, you are entitled to the leave time under the Employment Standards Act.


What documents do I need to apply for benefits?

Applications for benefits can be made online at Benefit Online Application or in person at any Service Canada Centre Service Canada Centre Locator

You will need the following documents when applying:

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Record of Employment (ROE) which is provided by your payroll centre
  • Personal Identification such as a drivers licence, birth certificate, passport
  • Your complete bank information
  • The expected or actual date of birth of your child, if you are claiming pregnancy benefits
  • Your newborn’s date of birth, or, when there is an adoption, your child’s date of placement, if you are claiming parental benefits. In the case of an adoption, you also need to provide the name and full address of the agency handling the adoption

For a complete list of all required documents, please visit Service Canada’s website.


Will I get an income top-up to EI payments?

The PARO-CAHO Agreement provides a supplemental income top-up to residents who are on either pregnancy or parental leave and are in receipt of EI (Article 15.7 of the PARO-CAHO Agreement).

  • This benefit is provided for a maximum of 27 weeks for women who are taking pregnancy and parental leave (15 weeks pregnancy leave top-up + 12 weeks parental leave top-up). For residents on stand alone parental leave (e.g. fathers, adoptive parents) the top-up will be provided for a maximum of 12 weeks.
  • The benefit will be equivalent to the difference between eighty-four percent (84%) of the resident’s regular weekly earnings and the sum of the resident’s weekly EI benefits and any other earnings.
  • Note For PGY1s Only: The requirement that residents must have worked thirteen (13) weeks of continuous service to qualify for the income supplemental top-up no longer applies.

The chart below summarizes the total length of leave and the length of benefit payments – both EI and the Top-up:

Pregnancy LeaveParental Leave
Length of Leave17 weeks35 weeks. — Note: Parental leave is 37 weeks if you did not take pregnancy leave (e.g. Adoptive parents, fathers)
Length of Benefit Payments (EI and top-up)*15 weeks EI benefits — If you are in receipt of EI, PARO members qualify for top-up for the same 15-week period.35 weeks EI benefits per family. — If in receipt of EI, PARO members qualify for 12 weeks of top-up.
When can the benefit begin?The earliest a pregnancy leave can begin is 17 weeks before the due date. The latest a pregnancy leave can begin is the day the baby is born. — The earliest the benefit payments can begin is 8 weeks before the expected delivery and can end as late as 17 weeks after the date of birth.Payable no later than 52 weeks after the child's birth. — For adoptive parents, fathers, or non-birth mothers, payable no later than 52 weeks after the child is in your immediate care, custody or control for the first time
Who is eligible for the benefit?Birth mother or surrogate motherNew parents (note that the Employment Standards Act defines “parent” as birth parent, adopting parent, or person in a relationship with a parent of a child and plans to treat the child as their own)

* Each family must wait a one-week unpaid waiting period before receiving EI benefits. For example, a mother that takes pregnancy leave will be required to wait one week until she will be in receipt of funds. She will receive a total of 15 weeks of EI payments for her pregnancy leave. When EI benefits for parental leave are shared between parents, a single one-week waiting period may apply.


How Much Notice Should I Give My Program?

Under Articles 15.1 and 15.2 of the PARO-CAHO Agreement residents must give four (4) weeks written notice of their intended timing of their pregnancy and/or parental leave, in order to ensure that professional and patient care responsibilities are met. We advise residents however, that the earlier your program is informed of your leave, the better it will be for all parties involved.


Your Rights: Working While Expecting

Attachment 3 of the PARO-CAHO Agreement states that “in no event will a resident be scheduled or required to participate in on call duty after twenty-seven (27) weeks gestation unless otherwise agreed to by the resident”. As well, residents have the right to have their workload modified somewhat because of the physical limitations caused by pregnancy to enable continued training with minimal interruption.

If you are experiencing particular difficulties with your pregnancy, your program may also be required to provide you with further reasonable accommodation.


Do My Benefits Continue on Pregnancy and/or Parental Leave?

Per Article 14.1 of the PARO-CAHO Agreement, all benefits continue to apply while on leave


What Happens to my Vacation and Professional Leave Days?

  • As set out in Article 11.5 of the PARO-CAHO Agreement, while on pregnancy/parental leave, you are entitled to vacation as follows:
  • Residents who take pregnancy and parental leave (e.g. biological mothers) accumulate vacation for the entire length of their leave, up to 52 weeks
  • Residents who take parental leave (e.g. adoptive parents, fathers) are entitled to take up to 37 weeks of parental leave, and accumulate vacation for up to 37 weeks. If a parent takes more than 37 weeks, vacation will be pro-rated for the additional period of the leave.
  • Normally, unused vacation may not be carried over into the following appointment year. However, if you are on pregnancy or parental leave at the end of one appointment year and the start of another, any unused vacation prior to going on leave, and accumulated vacation while on leave, can be carried over to the new appointment year and taken immediately following the end of your leave, i.e. before your return to work. It may also be taken at a later time mutually agreed upon between you and your program and/or preceptor.
  • If you are required to undertake additional services at the end of your program to make up for time missed while on pregnancy or parental leave, your vacation entitlement will be pro-rated or the length of the additional service.
  • You do not accumulate professional leave days while on leave and unused professional leave days expire at the end of each appointment year. However, you will be entitled to seven (7) days of professional leave in the next appointment year, as per Article 12.1 of the PARO-CAHO agreement.


Do I Have to Make up The Time I Missed While on Leave?

Depending on the length of the leave, residents will generally need to make up time missed in order to complete the educational and training requirements outlined by individual programs.

Both the RCPSC and CFPC permit individual universities to grant Waivers of Training (up to a maximum length) to ‘exceptional’ residents. If granted, waivers are applied in the final year of training. The decision to grant a waiver of training is at the discretion of the specific program director and/or university. Currently, Queen’s University does not grant waivers of training for residents. We advise you to speak with your program director about the possibility of being granted a waiver of training.


Important Contact Information

CMPA: 1-800-267-6522
They will stop automatic payments while you are on maternity leave. It is as simple as calling them and telling them the dates you will be on leave. They will send a letter to confirm these dates. If there are any changes, just call to inform them. Automatic payments will restart once you return to work.

OMA/CMA: 1-800-268-7215
No refunds are given on dues for residents while on pregnancy/parental leave as you continue to be a member with benefits.

CPSO: 1-800-268-7096
Your department must send a letter to CPSO informing them of the leave dates. You must still pay the full fee while you are off on leave as there are no pro-rated fees. You will remain registered with the CPSO while you are on leave.

Service Canada: 1-800-206-7218
A Service Canada representative can help answer any questions you have relating to applying, receiving, and documenting your Employment Insurance benefits.


Payroll & Benefit Contact Information

UniversityPhone Number
Ottawa613-562-5800 x 1656
Queen's613-549-6666 x 2365
Western519-685-8500 x 32554


PARO: 1-877-979-1183 or email

Please feel free to contact the PARO office with any questions you have relating to pregnancy and parental leave. One of our very knowledgeable staff members will be pleased to assist you.