A motion to study what more Canada can do to help parents grieving over the loss of an infant has passed in the House of Commons.
Currently, the 35-week-long parental leave benefits cease immediately upon the death of the baby – meaning some parents would need to go back to work immediately. (Maternity leave, which is only for the mother giving birth, would continue up to 15 weeks after labour).
That can lead to undue stress on grieving parents, MP Blake Richards says.
Richards previously tabled a non-partisan private member’s motion (Motion 110) in Parliament aimed at “fixing a serious flaw” and helping parents who suffer the loss of an infant child.
On Friday, it passed second debate, meaning it will now head to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities for further study.
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According to a news release, the committee is expected to hear from parents, advocates and experts on the subject of pregnancy and infant loss.
“Today’s result is only the first step in a long process to actually delivering in the level of support and compassion shown by the government to grieving parents,” Richards said in a statement.
Early neonatal mortality, which is the death of a child under one week of age, is rare, but it does happen in Canada.
According to Statistics Canada, there were 1,153 early neonatal deaths in 2015 alone.
*with files from Aalia Adams
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