The Government of Canada has introduced the Fairness for the Self-Employed Act, legislation that would extend Employment Insurance (EI) special benefits, including maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits, to the self‑employed.This measure responds to the Government’s 2008 pledge to help provide improved economic security and support for all those who are self-employed. With these changes, self-employed Canadians would be able to voluntarily opt into the EI program and receive special benefits. Overall, the special benefits for self-employed individuals would mirror those currently available to salaried employees under the EI program.
“About 2.6 million Canadians are self-employed. The majority of them have long asked for this support, and our government is responding to this strongly expressed need,” said Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. “We think that the self-employed should have the option of getting the same income protection that salaried employees currently receive when it comes to major life events.”