EI For The Self-Employed

by Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant on November 23, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post

The Government of Canada announced November 3rd that it will introduce legislation that would extend Employment Insurance (EI) special benefits, including maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits, to the self-employed.

Diane Finley

Prior to this announcement, self employed Canadians were not eligible to receive maternity benefits or any benefits for being sick or injured. These events place a great financial burden on and extending benefits seems to make good economic sense.

The Proposed Changes

Self-employed individuals who opt into the EI program would be eligible for special benefits available to regular salaried employees, including:

  • Up to 15 weeks of maternity benefits.
  • Up to 35 weeks of adoption benefits.
  • Up to 15 weeks of sickness benefits that may paid to a person who is unable to work because of sickness, injury or quarantine.
  • compassionate care benefits (6 weeks maximum), which may be paid to persons who have 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.

In order to take advantage of the program, individuals would have to opt in to the program at least a year prior to receiving benefits.

For More Information, please see the news release.

About The Tax Guy...

Dean Paley CGA CFP is a Burlington accountant and financial planner who services individuals and business owners locally, nationally and internationally. Dean has appeared in the National Post, Toronto Star and Metro News.

To find out more, visit Dean's website Dean Paley CGA CFP or connect via Twitter @DeanPaleyCGACFP.

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Erick November 23, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Under this plan, self-employed individuals wouldn’t be eligible for regular EI benefits, but would still pay the same premium as a salaried worker.

It’s a step in the right direction, but paying a reduced premium in return for reduced benefits would be more a equitable solution.

Tax Guy November 23, 2009 at 4:25 pm

@ Erik:

I agree its a step in the right direction. I’m not sure why there is a reduction in benefits either.

sam November 23, 2009 at 7:32 pm

I disagree, the premiums are already reduced because only the employee portion is payable, which is about 40% of what a full time person would pay.

Erick November 24, 2009 at 5:58 pm


Thanks for pointing that out…I guess it pays to read the *whole* press release 😉

“Self-employed Canadians who opt into the program would pay the same EI premium rate as salaried employees. They would not be required to pay the employer portion of premiums, in recognition of the fact that they would not have access to EI regular benefits.”

Tax Guy November 24, 2009 at 8:39 pm

@ Same & Erik:

Me too!

The self-employed individual only pays the regular premium. They don’t pay the employer portion.

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