Fairness for the Self-Employed
February 08, 2021

Ottawa Journal (February 08 – February 12, 2021)
David Tilson, M.P. (Dufferin-Caledon)


Our Government has been committed to supporting hard-working Canadians and their families by making considerable improvements to the Employment Insurance (EI) program, so help is there for those who need it. We have built on our history of making a better EI program by recently announcing that self-employed Canadians are now also eligible to apply and receive EI special benefits.

EI has traditionally been a form of temporary assistance for individuals who have lost their job through no fault of their own, while they look for work or upgrade their skills. It has also provided assistance to Canadians who are sick, pregnant, or caring for a newborn or adopted child, as well as those who must care for a family member who is seriously ill with a significant risk of death. Our Government recognizes that families are the foundation of our great country and that self-employed individuals have been unable to access this form of assistance when they have found themselves facing the same major life events.

We believe that self-employed Canadians shouldn’t have to choose between their family and their business responsibilities, which is the unfortunate reality for many. This is why self-employed Canadians are now (as of February 01, 2021) able to voluntarily opt-in to the EI program. The special benefits they may now receive include: maternity, parental, sickness, and compassionate care, and as a transitional measure, those who register on or before April 01, 2010, will be able to collect benefits as early as January 01, 2011.

There are approximately 2.6 million self-employed Canadians and our Government’s decisive action on EI is in response to this group, who is made up of small business owners, farmers, construction workers, and many others. They have long asked for this support and we are delivering because we recognize they are an integral part of our economy and Canada’s long-term economic recovery. Our Government believes that extending access to special benefits is the fair and right thing to do.

For more information on this new measure, please feel free to visit Service Canada’s website at: www.servicecanada.gc.ca or call: 1-800-206-7218.