The Liberals have made good on their campaign promise of extending parental leave and benefits to 18 months.
Parents who decide to stay at home longer, however, will have to make do with a lower Employment Insurance (EI) benefit rate of 33 per cent of their average weekly earnings, instead of the current rate of 55 per cent.
Canadians will still be able to opt for the traditional 12-month leave at the higher benefit rate.
How the 2017 budget will affect your pocketbook
Being able to stay at home for longer may help some parents find more affordable child care spots, as spaces for toddlers are generally cheaper than for infants up to age 18 months.
Still, the change does little for low-income parents, who generally can’t access EI.
In another tweak to EI, the budget also introduces the possibility for pregnant women to access maternity benefits up to 12 weeks before their due date. That’s up from the current eight weeks.