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Changes to employment insurance for the self-employed

November 24, 2009 - Tags: Entrepreneurship, Taxation

Shutterstock 65196667As a self-employed individual, your contribution to Canada's economy is important. Everybody wins when you choose to enjoy the benefits of creative freedom, the challenge and the self-satisfaction that often comes with self-employment.

It has no doubt crossed your mind that the lack of financial security can make self-employment less appealing. To encourage self-employment, the Government of Canada hopes to tackle at least some deterrents by introducing the Fairness for the Self-Employed Act.

Through the proposed legislation (the Act), you, as a self-employed Canadian, could choose to participate in the employment insurance (EI) program and become eligible for the same special benefits currently available to salaried employees. This includes:

  • Maternity benefits (15 weeks maximum), which are available to birth mothers and cover the period surrounding birth (a claim can start up to 8 weeks before the expected birth date);
  • Parental/adoptive benefits (35 weeks maximum), which are available to biological or adoptive parents while they are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child, and may be taken by either parent or shared between them (if parents choose to share these benefits, only one waiting period must be served);
  • Sickness benefits (15 weeks maximum), which may be paid to a person who is unable to work because of sickness, injury or quarantine; and
  • Compassionate care benefits (6 weeks maximum), which may be paid to persons who need 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.

Quebec Residents

If you are self-employed and you live in Quebec, you would continue to be eligible for maternity and parental benefits through the Quebec Parental Insurance Program for the Self-Employed Worker. In addition, you would become eligible to take advantage of the sickness and compassionate care benefits through the Government of Canada's employment insurance. If you chose to take advantage of the program, you would pay EI premiums at the same rates as employees in Quebec, where rates have already been lowered to take into account the provincial maternity and parental benefit plan.

Find out more

Comments

I am currently on EI and in the process of setting up my own consulting business. I need a small amount of financial support for a laptop and business cards only. Where would be the best place to apply for this type of funding?

thank you

Lori

By Lori on December 1, 2009

@Darren Crook:

The Interactive Business Planner (IBP) is now operational. IBP was not available for some time on Saturday as a result of emergency maintenance that resulted in an interruption in service. Unfortunately, the nature of the maintenance did not allow us to provide clients with a message to indicate that the site was only temporarily offline for repairs to the web infrastructure. 

We thank you for taking the time to visit our new Beta site.

Regards,

Canada Business Web Team

By Canada Business on December 8, 2009

I really need access to the business planner, but each time I go to access it, I can’t, not through here, and the old site has no re-direct, no ‘we’re working on things, be patient’, just a 303 server not available error.  That’s not very friendly to see, especially for a public accessible site.  Hopefully you guys can do something about that.  Btw, in case it wasn’t apparent, I really do like the new site design, and I rely on the IBP for making excellent business plans.  It makes things very efficient and workable when designing business plans.

Regards,
Darren Crook

By Darren Crook on December 9, 2009

Interesting!

By Jose on December 11, 2009

What a great redesign. Very clear & clean navigation, aesthetically pleasing and its encouraging to see the integration of social features like comments, digg and social bookmarking. This is an impressive government web site effort—you guys should be featured at Gtec :)

A great example of some of Stephen Anderson’s ideas that you can’t seperate aesthetics from usability and that a CLF site doesn’t need to look bland. I hope you roll it out soon and it sets a precedent across the GoC to go ‘social’ and not be intimidated about using open source behind the scenes as the CMS.

By Kevin on December 13, 2009

@Lori
@arthur
@Raquel
@scott

If you are looking for financing to start a business or for your existing business, we recommend you use the “Government grants, loans and financing” search tool that is found on our site:
http://www.canadabusiness.ca/eng/82/

If you need more assistance, contact our centres at 1-888-576-4444.

@Ibrahima

One good source of information to find a business partner is the Canadian Company Capabilities:
http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ccc-rec.nsf/eng/home

If you need more assistance, contact our centres at 1-888-576-4444.

@Lita

Service Canada handles the “employee-side” of the Employment Insurance program.

You will find more information about EI here:
http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/ei/menu/eihome.shtml

By Canada Business on December 14, 2009

I am currently on EI and in the process of setting up my own e-business.  I will need an extention on my EI benefits to pursue all directions in completing this business model. Who would I speak to for EI extension?

thank you

Larry

By Larry on August 2, 2010

I was a grocery store owner. I sold the store.May I have EI benefit based on the new rules on EI program?

By Ricky on August 12, 2010

Hi Larry,

Service Canada will be able to respond to any questions you may have on extension of your EI benefits. They can be contacted toll-free at: 1-800-206-7218 or TTY: 1-800-529-3742. You can also visit their website at http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sc/ei/index.shtml

By Canada Business on August 19, 2010

Hi Ricky,

Service Canada is able to respond to any questions you may have on the new rules for the EI program. They can be contacted toll-free at: 1-800-206-7218 or TTY: 1-800-529-3742 or you can also visit their website (http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sc/ei/index.shtml)

By Canada Business on August 24, 2010

Hi,

My wife is on Maternity leave and collects EI. She’s got some opportunity to work part-time and she knows the rules for EI deduction when she earns part-time work money. The question is should she consider herself as Self-Employed to Service Canada though she didn’t register a business? if not, what would be the option to tell Service Canada on this case?

Thanks,
Reza

By Reza on October 7, 2010

Hi Reza,

For the purposes of the EI Measure for Self-Employed People

By Canada Business on October 7, 2010

Part 1:
I am currently on EI and I have the opportunity to do a 6 month contract, something I never did before.  Is it possible for me to pay into the EI program so when the contract is finished and I don’t have anything else then can I collect.

Part 2:
My current claim runs until Sep 2011 and if this contract only runs 6 months then can I still reactivate it since it is not finished?

By David on November 3, 2010

Hi David,

Service Canada is able to respond to any questions you have about EI benefits and your specific situation. They can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-206-7218 or TTY: 1-800-529-3742.

By Canada Business on November 5, 2010

im self employed and work has really slowed down right now and need help to get through a couple of months till work picks up again
how would i be able to get some help from EI
thx mike

By mike on November 13, 2010

Hi Mike,

Service Canada can help you with any questions you have about EI benefits. They can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-206-7218 or TTY: 1-800-529-3742.

By Canada Business on November 15, 2010

I am wanting to start a Hair home based business (if I meet the zoning requirements), and my current employment is a term position, which ends May 2011.  Once I am finshed my term employment, how do I go about applying for EI while trying to start a business.  I beleive there is a program that will assist up to a year, but the requirements, I have not been on EI for some time, more than 5 years.  Looking forward to your reply, and thank you for your time.

By Vanessa on December 22, 2010

Hello,

I came across your site while doing some research on the internet.

I have been a self employed entrepreneur running a small publishing business in Ottawa, Canada for 16 years. I developed 4 management reference handbooks in checklist format
and have sold these books to hundreds of customers in 85 countries around the world.

Recently, I have had a very significant decline in business, to the point, that I need to move on and find new business opportunities.

As an entrepreneur (it’s in my blood), I would love to come up with another business opportunity. After a lot of googling, I have not come up with an idea so far. I even contacted some entrepreneurship centres across the country. They could provide lots of help with the process of starting up a business but not with helping to come up with another business idea.

I know I’m not the only small business person who is facing the situation of having to move on as a result of the economic circumstances. I just need to find another business idea. I have developed a business model that identifies how I want to work but I don’t have the ‘“what’ yet. I’m looking for online sites or other resources that provide a list of business ideas (I have found a few through google searching) that one can consider. Then, based on my passions (which I have written down), the ideas found on these lists would trigger my thoughts into generating a business idea that I would be passionate about and could start to pursue.

Can you please offer any suggestions on where I might search to come up with lists of new business ideas. As mentioned, I have been on google a lot and have come up with some ideas but, so far, not one that I’m passionate about.

Thank you.

By Mark on January 11, 2011

Hello Elda,

Service Canada is able to respond to your specific question regarding EI benefits. You can use their toll-free telephone information service at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY 1-800-529-3742) or visit their Contact Information for Employment Insurance page for mail or in person service information.

By Canada Business on January 11, 2011

Hello,

I have been an employee since 2005, but always maintained a part time hobby business on the side, which I have not made any money at, any profits have been turned back into the business. I manufacture a product and primarily export it to the United States.

My current employer laid me off due to lack of work, I’ve applied for EI.

I’m just wondering if there is any programs to help me turn my little business into full time employment, or am I obligated to go back to my job when things pick up?  This is a temporary layoff.

Thanks so much,
Robert

By Robert on February 18, 2011

I have been a self-employed Massage Therapist for twenty years, I am interested in going back to school to learn a skilled trade.  Will I be able to receive EI while in training?

Cee

By Cee on February 21, 2011

I have been trying all morning to cancel a registration for an existing business but I have not been able to find out how to do it. I believe you should have a main topic for canceling a business as you have one for setting up a business.

By Usama Al-Khudairy on February 21, 2011

Hello Cee,

Service Canada is able to respond to your specific question regarding EI benefits. You can use their toll-free telephone information service at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY 1-800-529-3742) or visit their Contact Information for Employment Insurance page for mail or in person service information.”

By Canada Business on February 21, 2011

If I open a home based Hair Salon (if I meet all requirements, zoning etc)  am I still eligible to participate in the EI benefits for maternity and parental leave if I will not be working/earning an income in the time period after I have my baby?

By Katie on September 9, 2011

Hello Katie,

Service Canada is able to respond to your specific question regarding EI benefits. You can use their toll-free telephone information service at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY 1-800-529-3742) or visit their Contact Information for Employment Insurance page for mail or in person service information.

By Canada Business on September 12, 2011

Hi,

While I was on EI, I purchased a small business.  For the first two months I was volunteering at my own business, I was being trained by the previous owner. I was also collecting EI.  I did not receive any income from my business.  After the two months I decided the business wasn’t going to work for me, so I sold it again. Therefore, I never actually received any INCOME from this business.  Is this within EI regulations?  Or will I have to pay back the benefits received from EI during these two months of volunteering at my own business??  Please let me know as soon as possible.
thank you for your help:)

Jason

By jason on September 27, 2011

Hi Jason,
Service Canada is able to respond to your specific question regarding EI benefits while owning a business, yet not collecting income. You can use the toll-free telephone information service at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY 1-800-529-3742) or visit the Contact Information for Employment Insurance page for mail or in person service information.
We wish you all the best.

By Canada Business on September 27, 2011

My wife self employed owning daycare. I work part-time in her day care to pick and drop children. Can I get wages from my wife and can I contribute towards ei in bc. It is an incorporation organisation

By Sukh on November 1, 2011

Hello Sukh,

For information on wages and payroll, visit the Canada Revenue Agency’s page Employer responsibilities - The payroll steps. If you have further questions about wages, you can contact the Canada Revenue Agency directly.

Service Canada is able to respond to your specific question regarding EI benefits. You can use their toll-free telephone information service at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY 1-800-529-3742) or visit their Contact Information for Employment Insurance page for mail or in person service information.

By Canada Business on November 3, 2011

Hello

I have a full time job but I have skills in doing African hair. I have done it for friends in the past and now I meet people who are willing to compensate me financially (although less than what hair stylist make). I intend to declare these as income when filing my personal taxes at the end of the year. However I want to know do I need to create a business for this even though I only do it occassionally whenever I have a client and it is not my primary source of income.

How do I proceed?

Thanks

By Valerie on November 9, 2011

I am just laid off from my job and have started EI benefits I am very interested in starting up my own business are there programs to help with funding, also i need help writing a business plan can you advise on who can help me with the business plan.

Thank you

By Kevin on November 9, 2011

Hi Valerie,

Our Registering your business page can help you learn more about the requirements to register your business with different levels of government.

The Canada Revenue Agency’s What is a business? page can help you understand how businesses are defined.

Our Guide to charging and collecting sales tax will give you information on how and when to charge sales taxes to your customers.

To get more information about your obligations, you can contact the Canada Business service centre in your province or territory or call toll free 1-888-576-4444 (TTY 1-800-457-8466).

By Canada Business on November 10, 2011

Hi Kevin,

Our Starting a Business section has information that will help you plan for a successful start to your journey as an entrepreneur.

When starting a business, keep in mind that one of the best courses of action you can take is to develop a great business plan. This helps set the foundation for all of your business decisions moving forward. The Business Planning section is a good place for you to start mapping out your plan.

There are a number of resources you can look into for financing. Our Grants and Finances section is an excellent place to start your search. Within this section, you can view or search for financing programs offered by governments by selecting parameters such as your industry, your location, your demographic group and/or the reason you are looking for financing.

You may also want to contact the Canada Business service centre in your province or territory or call toll free 1-888-576-4444 (TTY 1-800-457-8466).

Good luck with your business!

By Canada Business on November 10, 2011

Hi,
I am currently in school for my Journeymen in instrumentation (Last Year) and am currently on EI with the special apprentice “code” for the time being.  I have the opportunity to Start my own business with the company I “was” working for and will be going back to work for them once my last period of school is completed successfully.  I was hoping to get the ball rolling, so to speak, with registering my company while in school, so that as soon as I am finished school, I can have everything ready to go and go to work as an incorporated company.  The Only problem I’m facing, is that if I start a “business” while collecting EI from my last job as an employee, will that mean I stop receiving benefits I’m currently entitled to ?  because I do need them to finish my last term of technical training.  Or will they continue as normal as long as the company has made ZERO income and is essentially dormant until I go back to work as per my expected start date on my EI claim ?

By Jordan on November 15, 2011

Hi Jordan,

Canada Business can provide you with information on business start-up, however, Service Canada will determine whether you may continue to receive EI benefits during the start-up stage of your business. Service Canada can be reached toll-free at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY 1-800-529-3742) or by visiting their Contact Information for Employment Insurance page.

By Canada Business on November 15, 2011

I have been self employed for 3 years now with my own business as a sole proprietor. The past year has been very slow, and I am financially hardshipped.

Do I qualify for EI benefits through Service Canada, and if I do?....what is the criteria?

Regards

James

By James on January 2, 2012

Hello James,

Service Canada provides the eligibility criteria for EI benefits for self-employed. You can visit their website at http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sc/ei/sew/eligibility.shtml or dial 1-800-206-7218 (TTY 1-800-529-3742). You can also contact Service Canada by mail or in person.”

By Canada Business on January 5, 2012

I am currently on EI (mat leave) I work part time at my job! And I’m looking into selling epicure (very small based business something like avon, just diff products) is that considered self employed, if so how to do I go about reporting this? Thanks

By Kim on January 31, 2012

Hi Kim,

Service Canada’s website has information on the definition of self-employed and income earned while on maternity leave.

By Canada Business on February 3, 2012

I have been employed full time for a large employer since 2002.  This is my main source of income.  I have contributed to EI through this employment. 

I also have farm income, both through a corporation and individually.  If it wasn’t for my farm income, I am certain I would be eligible for EI.

My wife and I are expecting our third child this May.  My employer offers parental benefits with top up.  I am considering taking parental leave, but not sure whether or not I am eligible for EI due to my annual farm income.  None of the examples on the EI website really fit my situation.

Is there someone I can contact?  I have called the EI call centre, but for weeks they have been ‘experiencing higher than normal call volumes’ and there isn’t even an option to wait on hold, since the phone system just kicks you out.  I have also been to a service Canada centre, but since this is perhaps a bit unusual, the staff are uncertain.

By Unsure... on February 5, 2012

I am currently on EI, and was laid off a few months ago. I am wanting to start up my own business, and was wondering if I can still collect EI, while I am startibng up my own company. I just wanted to know if I am able to start up my company collect EI, and still register my new company.

Thanks,
Carly

By carly on February 7, 2012

Hello Carly,

The Service Canada website provides information about Employment Benefits for Self-Employed People. Topics covered include various eligibility criteria and application information. There is also a page for Frequently Asked Questions where you may find answers pertaining to your case. To contact Service Canada regarding Employment Insurance

By Canada Business on February 10, 2012

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