EI for the self-employed
The EI Measure for Self-Employed People extends access to EI special benefits to self-employed people on a voluntary basis.
- Maternity benefits, which are available to birth mothers only and cover the period surrounding the child's birth (maximum of 15 weeks);
- Parental benefits, which are available to biological or adoptive parents while they are caring for newborn or newly adopted children-these benefits may be taken by either parent or shared between them (maximum of 35 weeks);
- Sickness benefits, which may be paid to a person who is unable to work because of illness, injury, or quarantine (maximum of 15 weeks); and
- Compassionate care benefits, which may be paid to a person who has to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death (maximum of 6 weeks).
Note: Self-employed Quebec residents are already covered for maternity and parental benefits through the mandatory Quebec Parental Insurance Plan for the Self-Employed but can choose to participate in the federal program to become eligible for the sickness and compassionate care benefits.
Who can participate:
- Self-employed individuals who operate their own business;
- Self-employed individuals who are employed by a corporation but not eligible to participate in the EI program as an employee because they control more than 40 percent of the voting shares of that corporation.
- Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
- The maximum EI premium for the year 2015 is $930.60 ($762.30 in Quebec).
- The 2015 rate is calculated the same way as for employees, e.g, based on $1.88 per $100 of earnings (1.54% in Quebec), up to a maximum insurable earnings of $49,500.00.
- There is no employer portion to be paid.
- Once you have received EI special benefits, you must continue to pay EI premiums on your self-employment income for the entire duration of your self-employed career, regardless of any change in the nature of your self-employment.
- You can terminate your agreement only if you have not received EI special benefits as a self-employed person.
For further information please see Service Canada's EI Special benefits for Self-Employed page. To apply on line review their application process or visit a Service Canada Centre near you.
For more information, please contact your CFIB Business Counsellor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-234-2232.