Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 24 - Section 3

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24.3.0 Registration process

Participation in the EI Special Benefits Program for the Self-Employed is voluntary and first requires registration via an agreement. The existence of an agreement, therefore, is a prerequisite to accessing the benefits available Footnote 1 .

24.3.1 Entering into an agreement with the Commission to participate in the EI program

Self-employed persons must have entered into a formal agreement with the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (Service Canada) in order to participate in the EI program. At least 12 months must elapse from the time the agreement is entered into before a self-employed participant would be eligible for EI special benefits. This agreement triggers the payment of EI premiums Footnote 2 . Québec residents

Self-employed persons residing in Québec pay premiums into the Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) for the purposes of qualifying for maternity, paternity and parental benefits under that plan. As stated previously, these persons can enter into an agreement with the Commission for access to EI sickness, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits.

In cases where a self-employed person residing in Québec enters into an agreement with the Commission and then move outside of Québec, the person then has access to all EI special benefits, including maternity and parental. A regulatory provision Footnote 3 was made to recognize the interprovincial mobility of these self-employed persons. Accordingly, for the purpose of qualifying for EI maternity and parental benefits, a self-employed person who has ceased to reside in Québec is deemed as having entered into an agreement for at least twelve months if the following conditions are met:

  • The self-employed person has entered into an agreement with the Commission between 12 months before their move and three months after their move; and, was covered under the QPIP for at least twelve months prior to moving from Québec.

This does not apply to EI sickness, compassionate care and family cargiver benefits. In order to be eligible for these benefits, the self-employed person who has moved outside of Québec must wait at least 12 months from the time the agreement was entered into before being eligible for these benefits.

[ September 2013 ]

24.3.2 Annual premiums payment

Once registered into the EI program, annual premiums become payable by self-employed persons and are equal to the employee portion of EI premiums paid by insured workers working for an employer. Although entering an Agreement is done with the Commission, it is the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) which assesses the annual premium amount and manages the collection of those premiums through the Federal Income Tax Return process Footnote 4 .

24.3.3 Cancellation/termination of an agreement

Once entered into, the Agreement is valid indefinitely Footnote 5 . As a result, annual premium payments will also continue indefinitely, unless the Agreement is cancelled or terminated. An agreement may be terminated by the self-employed individual only if no special benefits were ever paid.

If a participant requests termination of the Agreement within 60 days of making the initial registration, the Agreement is, in fact, deemed never to have been entered into and is considered to be cancelled Footnote 6 . It is important to recognize that the 60-day period is a grace period and allows participants the opportunity to change their mind without incurring the obligation to pay EI premiums.

In situations where no special benefits were ever paid and the participant requests termination of the agreement after 60 days have passed since the initial agreement was entered into, the agreement is considered to be terminated.

24.3.4 Termination of agreement after 60 day grace period

If a notice to terminate an Agreement is done after the 60-day grace period, the total annual premiums must be paid for the entire calendar year in which the self-employed person initiated the termination. The coverage will continue until December 31st of that year. If a self-employed person does require EI special benefits during the same year they request termination of their agreement, they may file a claim for benefits until the end of that calendar year. It is important to note that, by establishing a claim for benefits (subsequent to termination); the initial termination notice is considered withdrawn and premium payment will continue indefinitely Footnote 7 .

The self-employed person who ceases his self-employment activities does not necessarily have to terminate their agreement in order to stop the payment of premiums. There will be no premium for them to pay as a self-employed person as long as no self-employment income is declared on their Federal Income Tax Return. If at a future date, self-employment income is reported, the premium collection will automatically recommence.

24.3.5 Subsequent agreement (after termination)

If a self-employed person decides that they would like to voluntarily enter an agreement to participate in the EI Program again after terminating a previous agreement they can do so. They will be required (as was the case with their initial registration) to once again have at least 12 months elapse before they would be entitled to EI special benefits.

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