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No, self-employed individuals are not eligible for employment insurance benefits.

If you were an employee at some point during the 52 weeks prior to having your child and managed to accumulate 600 hours on the job, you might be entitled to benefits from your previous employer. If you start your maternity benefits early, soon after your last day of employment, you will have more insurable hours in the 52-week period on which your benefits will be based than if you wait. To make sure you qualify, I recommend that you contact a branch of the Human Resources and Social Development (HRSDC). Also, please bear in mind that HRSDC will claw back payments in proportion to the self-employment income you earn while you receive Employment Insurance benefits.


Have an accounting question? Submit it as a comment so it can be answered in a future “Ask an Accountant” entry.

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. Oh that is so my question! Thanks Nancy. My question I need to ask an accountant is that I have heard that if I incorporate and own less than 50% of my company I then can become an employee and thus pay (and be qualified for) EI. I need to find someone here to ask that of soon!

    Quebec is currently the only province that will provide maternity benefits to self-employed women.


    Dec 06, 2007
  2. btw, HRSDC was renamed “service canada” a while ago. here is there whole shebang on “having a baby”: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/en/lifeevents/baby.shtml


    Dec 09, 2007
  3. can’t believe how typing keeps on bringing out my inner dyslexic. i meant “their” not “there”!


    Dec 09, 2007

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