Policy Statement

The City of Toronto provides an unpaid leave of up to 37 weeks to provide care or support to a critically ill child, or up to 17 weeks to provide care or support to a critically ill adult dependent in accordance with the Employment Standards Act.


Ontario Bill 21, the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2014, amended the Employment Standards Act, 2000 in respect of family caregiver, critically ill child care and crime-related child death or disappearance leaves of absence.


This policy applies to all employees of the City of Toronto including political staff working in the offices of Members of Council, who have been employed by the City for at least six consecutive months.



A child, step-child, foster child or child under the legal guardianship of an employee, who is under the age of 18.

Adult Dependent

A family member who is 18 years of age or older.

Family Members include:

  • The employees Spouse
  • a parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse
  • a child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse
  • a brother, step-brother, sister, or step-sister of the employee
  • a grandparent or step-grandparent of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
  • a grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
  • a brother-in-law, step-brother-in-law, sister-in-law or step-sister-in-law of the employee
  • a son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
  • an uncle or aunt of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
  • a nephew or niece of the employee or of the employee’s spouse
  • the spouse of the employee’s grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece
  • a person who considers the employee to be like a family member.

The family member does not need to live in Ontario for the employee to be eligible to take a critical illness leave.

Qualified Health Practitioner

A qualified physician, registered nurse or psychologist, licensed to practice in Ontario or the jurisdiction in which care or treatment is being provided.


A written note is required from a qualified health professional stating that the child is critically ill and requires the care or support of one or more parents for a specified period of time. The note must be provided to the employee’s Manager or Supervisor as soon as reasonably possible.

An employee may take a leave of absence of up to 37 aggregate weeks. This leave is to be taken in full week increments. The weeks on leave do not need to be consecutive, but they must be taken within 52 weeks of the beginning of the first week of leave.

If more than one child or adult family member of the employee is critically ill as a result of the same incident, the employee is not entitled to take a leave longer than specified in the medical certificate.

If both parents of the child are employed by the City, the combined leaves can not exceed 37 weeks.


This leave came into effect on October 29, 2014.

The employee will notify their Manager or Supervisor of their request for this leave of absence.

The employee or their manager can complete the Absence notification in SuccessFactors in the Time Off tile. Managers or Supervisors cannot deny a request for this leave if all conditions have been met.

Salary & Benefits

Salary increases that an employee would be eligible for had they been actively working during the leave will be applied to their base salary upon their return to work.

Basic benefits coverage (health, dental, group life insurance, STD and LTD) continue during this leave.

Benefit coverage for part-time employees continues on a pro-rated basis.

Employees are responsible for premiums that they would normally pay for benefits that are not covered by the basic plan, for example additional coverage for group life insurance.


If employees want to maintain pension service credits they must pay their pension contributions for the duration of the leave. The city will match these contributions.

Related Documents

Employment Standards Act, 2000,C41, s 49.4

Approved by

Chief People Officer

Date Approved

October 6, 2014

Last Updated

October 16, 2020