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Sample Response:

This prompt addresses a recent policy change in Canada, which allows parents the ability to take 18 months of employment insurance benefits (unemployment, in U.S. terms) following the birth of a child. In this policy, the most pressing issues are the well-being of the general population and the Canadian economy. There are several pros and cons to the policy:


• Parents get to spend more time raising their children through important developmental milestones.

• Allows both parents to take time off to spend with their children.

• Fewer childcare expenses, as parents would not need to hire childcare, as children are not entering daycare until 18 months.

• Encourages bonding and breastfeeding for longer periods, which have health benefits for both mother and child.

• Greater work-life balance can improve employee productivity; returning to work early can actually result in distracted employees.


• Productivity of business may be impaired as duties and roles are continuously shuffled.

• It may reduce hiring, as small businesses may be unable to recover from an employee’s 18-month leave.

• Although this longer leave may be offered, it may be "unofficially" expected that individuals return after 12 months. Employees may feel pressured to refrain from extending their leave.

• Employers may be less likely to hire reproductive age workers, as they may be more likely to take up to 18 months off of work.

• Households may have financial strain as they will have less money per month if they elect for the 18 vs. 12-month leave. The policy offers the same amount of employment insurance funds, these are just spread over a longer period of time.

• Parents may take the 18-month leave and then not return to work.

(At this point, you would give your own opinion on which “side” you think is most compelling, explaining your rationale. As well, if there are negatives or unresolved issues leftover, you’ll want to try to think creatively about how to address them effectively. For example, employers could be given additional governmental support to find temporary workers to fill the gaps of parental leave, providing more options to precarious workers who rely on temp positions, while also ensuring the business continues to function in the absence of the worker on parental leave. The most important thing is to demonstrate a mature, reflective response that centers the well-being of others – this is far more important than any specific "agree or disagree" response to the policy in the prompt.)

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