Bill C-56, the Fairness for the Self-Employed Act, has received Royal Assent and the majority of its provisions will come into effect on January 1, 2010.
The Act extends Employment Insurance special benefits including maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits to self-employed individuals who voluntarily opt into the EI program. Such individuals must opt in at least one year prior to claiming any benefits and must earn a minimum of $6,000 in self-employed earnings in the year prior to a claim for benefits.
Self-employed individuals will pay the same EI premium rates as salaried employees but will not be required to pay the employer portion of the premiums. If benefits have not been claimed, self-employed individuals may opt out of the program at the end of any tax year, otherwise they will be required to pay contributions on self-employed earnings for the duration of self-employment.
(Click here for link to Bill C-56)