NDP introduce bill to support grandparents raising their grandchildren

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For many Canadian grandparents, the days of keeping tabs on little ones 24-7 are long behind them. That is, until now. The number of grandparents who could be considered “second time parents” is on the rise and NDP MP Claude Gravelle has come up with a solution to help.

Gravelle has recently introducts a Private Member’s Bill, Bill C-487, designed to amend Employment Insurance (EI) and Income Tax legislation to hopefully easy the financial burden of these grandparents.

“According to the 2011 Census, 75,000 children were being raised by their grandparents. This is a 20 per cent increase from 2006 figures and the numbers are likely only the tip of the iceberg as informal arrangements are not reported,” said Gravelle.

The bill, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Income Tax Act, would qualify grandparents to receive EI when taking parental leave to raise children under five. Grandparents who qualify would also be able to claim childcare deductions, which were previously only available to a lower-income spouse.

Though some grandparents have taken on the role out of choice, for many, the decision was necessary during their family’s time of need. “The main issue here is financial assistance for the grandparents who step up during a family crisis to take care of children,” says Gravelle. “Most grandparents who raise a grandchild with no parents present are ineligible for the child care expenses deduction because they do not work or have a partner with no income. My bill will remove these barriers.”

The reasons for why these grandparents take on the responsibility of raising these kids are varied. “Some families are struggling with mental health issues, drug use and other concerns. The grandparents have stepped up to prevent their grandchildren from being placed into care, and are frequently already having difficulty making ends meet on limited incomes,” said NDP Seniors critic Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe. “The least we can do is recognize this and afford them the same benefits biological parents would receive.”

For more information on Claude Gravelle visit claudegravelle.ndp.ca.

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