Opinion

Cannan: Feds propose help for parents

A few announcements made this month by the Government of Canada may be of interest to you and your family.

As of Aug. 3, new allergen labelling regulations for most foods sold in Canada took effect.

The regulations, announced Feb. 14, 2011 by Leona Aglukkaq, the federal health minister, will help Canadians who suffer from food allergies make more informed choices about the foods they buy.

Canadians who live with allergies and celiac disease will no doubt find the new labelling requirements make it much easier to identify foods they can safely eat.

Under the new regulations, clearer ingredient labels will help consumers better avoid foods that contain the ingredient to which they are allergic or sensitive.

As well, the department has also refined its definition of gluten-free, which will increase food choices available to Canadians dealing with celiac disease.

The strengthened regulations will also provide manufacturers with clear requirements so that allergens, gluten sources, and sulphites are labeled in a consistent manner.

For more information on what to look for with the new allergen labels and for more information on food allergies, food intolerances, and celiac disease, please visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca and follow the Food and Nutrition link.

Another announcement you may find of interest relates to Employment Insurance.

The federal government proposed last week, a new EI special benefit for parents who take time off work to care for their critically ill or injured children.

This new benefit would ease the financial pressure on parents who take time off work to care for their critically ill or injured children when they need it the most.

Parents who must take time off work to care for a child who has a life-threatening illness or

injury would be able to apply for up to 35 weeks of this new EI special benefit.

The special benefit is part of the government’s continued action to help parents balance work and family responsibilities.

Other EI measures include expanding eligibility for compassionate care benefits; allowing self-employed workers to opt into the EI program to receive maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits, as well as this new special benefit; and improving access to EI parental benefits for military and foster families.

The new EI special benefit for parents of critically ill children is expected to be available in June 2013 and will help an estimated 6,000 families per year.

More information on Employment Insurance can be found at www.hrsdc.gc.ca by clicking on the Jobs and Training link and proceeding to the section on Employment Insurance.

I hope all of you are having a safe and enjoyable summer.

I will continue to work out of my constituency office until I return to Ottawa in September.

Should you wish to meet or to share questions or concerns about any of the federal government’s programs and services, please do not hesitate to contact me.

ron@cannan.ca

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