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It is created to provide general EI information only.


Employment Insurance has a program designed for self-employed people. If you run your own business or control more than 40% of your corporation’s voting shares, this program can provide you with access to special benefits as early as 12 months after registering.

When you need to take time away from your business to care for yourself, your children or other family members, you could receive financial support of up to 55% of your earnings, up to a maximum amount. In 2022, the maximum amount is $638 per week.

Please note that EI Regular Benefits aren’t available through this program.

If you’re a fisher, barber or hairdresser, or if you drive a taxi or other passenger vehicle, you don’t need to register for the self-employed program. People in these professions should apply for EI benefits as an employee.


Residents of Quebec

If you’re a resident of Quebec, sickness, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits are available to you through our program. The Province of Quebec is responsible for providing maternity, paternity, parental and adoption benefits to its residents. Visit the Québec Parental Insurance Plan for more information.


There are 6 types of special benefits

The 6 types of special benefits are:

  1. Maternity – 15 weeks
  2. Parental – 40 or 69 weeks, depending on the option you choose
  3. Sickness – 15 weeks
  4. Family Caregiver – Children – 35 weeks
  5. Family Caregiver – Adults – 15 weeks
  6. Compassionate Care – 26 weeks

To be eligible for the special benefits, you must meet the conditions of the benefit for which you are applying.

You must also:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • be registered in the self-employed program for at least 12 months
  • have decreased the amount of time you spend on your business by more than 40% for at least one week
  • have earned a minimum amount of self-employed earnings between January 1 and December 31 of the year before you apply for benefits

Between September 26, 2021, and September 24, 2022, to be eligible for benefits in 2021, you need to have made at least $5,289 in net earnings in 2020.


How to register for self-employed EI program

There are 2 steps:

  1. register online for the program
  2. pay EI premiums

You can apply for special benefits 12 months after your confirmed registration date.

Paying your EI premiums

After you register for this program, you’ll be responsible for paying premiums when you file your income tax return each year.

You’ll pay premiums based on your self-employed income for the entire calendar year, starting the year you register.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will confirm the amount of your premiums based on the self-employed income you report on your tax return.

If you’re a shareholder of a corporation

If you’re a shareholder of a corporation where you work as an employee and you control more than 40% of that corporation’s voting shares, your premiums are based on your employment income.


Estimate your premiums

In 2022, you’ll pay $1.58 in EI premiums for every $100 you earn. The most you’ll pay for 2022 is $952.74. This premium rate changes annually.

Everyone pays the same rate of EI premiums, whether they’re self-employed or an employee.

Residents of Quebec

In 2022, you’ll pay $1.20 in EI premiums for every $100 you earn. The most you’ll pay for 2022 is $723.60. This premium rate changes annually. Your premiums will be lower than those for self-employed people who reside outside of Quebec since the province provides benefits under the Québec Parental Insurance Plan.


You can still register for the program if you’re self-employed and also an employee

In this case, your insurable earnings* from both employment and self-employment could be combined to increase your benefit rate. The maximum benefit rate and the number of weeks of benefits you can get stays the same.

*Insurable earnings include most of the different types of compensation from employment, such as wages, tips, bonuses and commissions. The CRA determines what types of earnings are insurable.

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