Mr. Speaker, as has been said today and throughout the course of this debate, the arrival of a new child is one of the most important times in a parent's life. It is a time of great joy and excitement; however, a growing family also presents added pressure on parents. Parenting demands time, energy and attention. It also adds financial costs to household budgets.
The employment insurance program provides important supports for new parents. Maternity and parental benefits help to offset some of the pressures they face. These benefits provide parents with critical financial support so that they can afford to take time off work to care for and bond with their child.
The leave entitlement provisions in the Canada Labour Code and provincial labour codes ensure that when parents take leave, their jobs are protected. Unfortunately, the current reality is that the employment insurance program does not treat all families equally. Those who grow their families through adoption and/or surrogacy are entitled to 15 fewer weeks of leave. These families are no less deserving of time with their new child, and that time is no less needed.
Bill C-318 is a common-sense piece of legislation that rectifies the existing gap in our system. It delivers parity for families formed through adoption and surrogacy. However, at its core, this legislation is about the welfare and well-being of our children. This is why the preamble of this bill intentionally acknowledges that families formed through adoption and surrogacy can face unique attachment challenges. Overcoming these challenges requires time, patience and dedicated effort.
The first year of a child's life in placement within a family is a critical time to form secure and healthy attachments. With the opportunity for families to have more time together, the proposed benefit in this bill would nurture healthy attachment and ultimately contribute positively to a child's social, emotional and cognitive development. The benefits of healthy attachment are lifelong, and they support the long-term outcomes within a family.
It has been encouraging to hear comments from all sides of the House in support of a parental leave system that treats all families fairly. Canadians across this country are now eagerly waiting for those supportive comments to translate into the passage of this bill.
I have heard directly from many parents. Some are hopeful that this bill will pass in time to deliver them the supports they need. So many more know first-hand how meaningful 15 more weeks of leave would have been for their own families, and they do not want other families to miss out on that precious time together. It is time that we support all families equally, honour the diversity of families in Canada and ensure that government policies and programs are inclusive.
Bill C-318 provides every member of this House the opportunity to support adoptive and intended parents. Together, we can take a meaningful step toward parity. With the stated support of my parliamentary colleagues from across partisan lines, it can now be anticipated that this bill will live or die based on the provision of a royal recommendation.
Just as his predecessor avoided taking a position on this bill, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages has not yet provided the royal recommendation needed or even acknowledged my correspondence to him. This issue is truly non-partisan. In fact, the Liberal government has been promising to deliver parity to adoptive parents since 2019, and it made the same promise to intended parents earlier this year. However, it has failed to act and deliver on these promises. These families are owed more than just broken promises from the Liberal government. Adoptive and intended parents should not have to keep waiting for parity in our benefit system.
I sincerely hope that a royal recommendation is forthcoming from the minister and the Liberal government, particularly from the cabinet. It is time that we give all parents the time with their children that they need and deserve.