Employment Insurance Benefits for Self-Employed People
Posted On: 07/06/17 - 0

Self-employed Canadians are able to voluntarily access Employment Insurance (EI) special benefits. There are five types of EI special benefits:

1) Maternity benefits (15 weeks maximum) available to mothers of a new born child. It covers the periods surrounding birth;
2) Parental / adoptive benefits (35 weeks maximum) available to adoptive, biological or otherwise legally recognized parents while they are caring for a newly adopted or newborn child. It
may be taken by either parent or shared between them;
3) Sickness benefits (15 weeks maximum) which may be paid to a person who cannot work because of injury, sickness, or quarantine;
4) Compassionate care benefits (26 weeks maximum), that may be paid to persons who have to be away from work temporarily to provide support or care to a family member who is gravely ill
with a significant risk of death. The benefits can be shared between different family members who applied and are eligible to receive them
5) Benefits for parents of critically ill children (35 week maximum): available to eligible parents who take leave of work to provide care or support to their critically ill or injured
child. Either parent is eligible or the benefits can be shared.

You are eligible to access the EI special benefits if you:

1) Are a self-employed person or you work for a corporation but cannot access EI benefits because you control more than 40% of the corporation’s voting shares
2) Are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada.
3) Are self-employed Canadians are required to voluntary opt into the Program at least one year prior to claiming benefits. Premium payments begin in the tax year in which they enrolled in
the EI Program. Register to participate in the EI program through “my service Canada account.” Self-employed persons can opt out of the EI Program at the end of any tax year, provided
they have never claimed any benefits. If a claim for benefits was made they have to continue to contribute to the EI Program on their selfemployed earnings for as long as they are self-
employed.

Self-employed Canadians that opt into the EI Program will pay the same EI premium as salaried employees (maximum of $836.19 in 2017). She or he will not be required to pay the employer’s portion of the EI premiums.

In 2017, the maximum benefits are $543 per week. The weekly benefit amount is 55% of your average weekly earnings (AWE) from the calendar year before you submit an application for EI special benefits. Your AWE are your total self-employment income minus any losses, as calculated according to the Income Tax Act, divided by 52.



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