Information Centre


Employment Insurance for Self Employed Persons

A self employed person cannot collect normal unemployment benefits; however as of 2010 self employed persons can choose to pay into EI to collect the following benefits:

  • Maternity Leave (15 weeks)
  • Parental Leave (15 weeks)
  • Sickness Leave (15 weeks)
  • Compassionate Care Leave (6 weeks)

The weekly benefit amount is 55% of your average weekly earnings from the calendar year prior to your application up to a maximum of $468 per week. The premium required is the same as the employee portion of salaried employees, the maximum amount being $747 for 2010. You must enroll in the program through contacting Service Canada at least a year prior to collecting benefits.

On the surface this sounds like a very good deal, however on closer examination it may not be. Once you collect you cannot opt out of the insurance program and you will pay into it as long as you are self employed. (One solution to this problem of continuing to pay premiums for years to come is to incorporate your business so that you are no longer self employed.) It should also be noted that if you continue to receive self employed or employment income during the period you are collecting benefits any amount received over 25% of your weekly benefit will result in a deduction from your benefit.