Step 1: Registering
As a self-employed individual, you have to register online with the Canada Employment Insurance Commission to participate in the EI program. To do so, you will need a My Service Canada Account which you can access online from home, at any Service Canada Centre using one of the many Internet kiosks available, or at a public Internet access site in your community, such as a public library. From the “On-line Services and Forms” menu on the right-hand side of the page, click on “Access My Service Canada Account” and follow the instructions. After you register, we will mail you a personal access code within 10 days.
If you already have a My Service Canada Account, simply login using your existing user code and password, and select the “Employment Insurance for the Self-Employed” option on the main page to begin the registration process.
Your participation in the EI program will last for the entire duration of your self-employed career, regardless of any change in the nature of your self-employment. You may cancel your registration if you have never received EI special benefits as a self-employed person; however, there are specific criteria for this process. Please refer to the information on Cancelling your participation.
Step 2: Paying premiums for 12 months
Once you receive notification that your registration was successful, your EI premiums will be calculated based on your income tax and benefit return for that year. For example, if you register in 2015 to participate in this program, EI premiums will be calculated based on your 2015 income tax and benefit return and will be payable by April 30, 2016.
Regardless of when you register during a given year, EI premiums are payable based on your self-employed income for the entire year. More information is available on the Calculation of premiums page.
Step 3: Applying for EI special benefits
You have to wait 12 months from the date of your confirmed registration before applying for EI special benefits.
As outlined in the eligibility information, there are certain criteria that must be met in order to be considered eligible for EI special benefits.
Once you are ready to file an application for EI special benefits, log back into My Service Canada Account and follow the steps in the application process.
Note that there is a two-week waiting period for each of these special benefits. You will not receive any EI special benefits during this waiting period. In some cases, such as when parental, compassionate care or parents of critically ill children benefits are shared among more than one person, only one waiting period needs to be served.
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