Thu Jun 7, 2001 - 12:15 pm EST

TORONTO, June 7, 2001 ( - The Ontario government has agreed to double the budget for a year-old program that pays female doctors to take maternity leave as twice the expected number of physicians took advantage of it. As self-employed business people doctors are not eligible for the parental leave benefits salaried workers can receive under Employment Insurance, a federal program. A new Ontario program based on a Nova Scotia model offers them up to $880 a week for 17 weeks without having to pay premiums.

Women physicians think a lot about when they’re going to have children because of their large overheads… This is one way for the province to keep physicians practising here,” said Dr. Gail Beck, a spokeswoman for the Ontario Medical Association. The government and the association had projected that 170 of Ontario’s 5,600 female doctors would apply for maternity leave based on the birth rate among the general population, but 350 took advantage of it.

Contract provisions that counterbalance having to work long hours with little time off are becoming increasingly popular among doctors. It is expected that Ontario physicians will ask for paternity benefits in their next contract. For more see the National Post at:

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