Learning More About Employment Insurance for the Self Employed

The Employment Insurance program has previously only offered benefits to employees that worked for others. The support that they offered could be received when employees were sick, had a baby, adopted a child, or cared for a sick family member.

Recently, an amendment was added to the Employment Insurance Act. This amendment is known as the Fairness for the Self-Employed Act. This allows self-employed Canadians to have access to these financial benefits. All they need to do is register for the program, and registration is completely voluntary.

Who is eligible?

Anyone that operates their own business, or works for a business in which they control over 40% of the voting shares is eligible. Other requirements include being a Canadian citizen, or being a permanent resident of Canada. There are a few other conditions that may apply as well.

What types of benefits are included?

There are four main types of Employment Insurance special benefits. They include:
• Maternity Benefits – These benefits are offered to mothers that have given birth. They are eligible to receive these benefits for up to 15 weeks.
• Parental Benefits – These benefits are offered to parents of new children, whether natural parents or adoptive parents. They can be used by either parent, or shared between both parents for up to 35 weeks.
• Sickness Benefits – These benefits are offered to people who are unable to work because of sickness or injury. They are eligible to receive these benefits for up to 15 weeks.
• Compassionate Care Benefits – These benefits are offered to people who have to take time off from their job in order to care for a family member who is ill. They are eligible to receive these benefits for up to 6 weeks.