Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 24 - Section 2

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24.2.0 Participation: Special benefits for the self-employed

24.2.1 Eligible participants

In order to participate in the EI program, an individual must meet the definition of a self-employed person and be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. Limitation - Québec residents

Further to an agreement between the governments of Canada and Québec, the Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) was implemented on January 1, 2006, to offer maternity, paternity, and parental benefits to workers who reside in Québec, including self-employed workers. Québec residents pay a premium similar to the EI premium in order to be eligible to receive these benefits. The benefits offered, though not identical to those offered under the national EI program, are quite similar in scope Footnote 1 .

QPIP does not offer sickness benefits, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits to self-employed persons in the province of Québec. Self-employment special benefits under the Employment Insurance program therefore provide the opportunity for Québec self-employed persons to receive these three benefit types.

In order to receive special benefits under the Employment Insurance program, Québec self-employed persons are required to enter into an agreement with the Commission and pay premiums (albeit at a reduced rate, in consideration of the fact that residents are already paying an annual premium to receive benefits through QPIP).

[ September 2013 ]

24.2.2 Choosing between benefits

As is detailed below, an advance registration process is required before self-employed persons are eligible to access the special benefits available. The voluntary nature of the program through registration, as well as the time required before access to special benefits for the self-employed can be obtained, makes determining which type of benefit to choose an important decision for some.

This is because an individual may have other insured employment which permits them to establish a claim as an insured worker (employee) or as a self-employed fisher. If a self-employed individual has registered with the EI program so that they can access special benefits but they also work as an insured employee or they work as a self-employed fisherperson, they can choose under which part of the EI program they wish to receive special benefits (assuming they qualify under each part). Thus, a self-employed person who can qualify for special benefits by virtue of insured employment other than their self-employment, as an employee or as a fisher, who can also qualify under the portion of the EI program specific to the self-employed must choose under which part of the program they wish to establish a claim Footnote 2 . It is the Commission's responsibility to provide sufficient information to an individual so that they are in a position to make an informed choice. It is important to note that once an election has been made with respect to choosing either self-employment benefits or benefits for employees (including fishers) that election is final and cannot be changed Footnote 3 . Information is available to assist in this determination through a number of channels Footnote 4 .

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