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EI benefits expanded for parents with sick children

Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks in Gimli, Man., on Aug. 2, 2012.

John Woods/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canadian parents will soon be able to claim extra employment insurance while they look after their critically ill or injured child.

The changes mean parents can apply for up to 35 weeks of benefits while they're off work because of a sick child.

Currently, parents can claim just six weeks of employment insurance in such cases.

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the additional benefits while visiting an elementary school in Vancouver.

The benefits are expected to be available starting in June next year for as many as 6,000 parents.

Mr. Harper says the change is part of his government's wider effort to help parents balance work and family.

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