Mary-Jo | Adoption Benefits for the Self-Employed


For those who are self-employed, we have no compensated way to take a parental leave. Self-employment might mean that you have some flexibility in your hours or time off or it might mean that you have little free time and even less ability to take an extended leave. Who else can do your job, run your business but you? Sometimes, in two parent households, both parents are self-employed or both involved in running a business or creative enterprise. Adoption means more juggling, financial risk and time management struggles. Some are fortunate enough to have a team of employees who can work more hours, however the responsibility remains in the hands of the owner/entrepreneur and extended parental leave is complicated and fraught.

Some just can’t take any time off without substantial financial repercussions.

The Government of Canada has fairly recently developed a program so that self-employed individuals can pay into a benefit plan and then access to parental leave financial compensation. This means that self-employed individuals can get E.I. for parental leave. E.I. payments are the equivalent to those who are employed. The entire plan can be accessed at:

It is a way of paying into Employment Insurance and it called: E.I. Special Benefits for Self-Employed People. Here is the gist:


1.     You need to register with the Canadian Employment Insurance Commission ( )

2.     You can get 5 kinds of benefits: Maternity, Parental, Sickness, Compassionate Care and Parents of Critically Ill Children.

3.     You must be a Canadian citizen or Permanent resident.

4.     You must not be otherwise eligible for EI coverage.

5.     You have to wait 12 months (that is, make payments for 12 months) before being eligible for coverage.

6.     You have to pay into the EI program monthly for as long as you are self-employed, you do this along with paying your income tax.

7.     Quoting from the website: “In 2016, for every $100 you earn, you will need to contribute $1.88 in EI premiums up to a defined maximum—the same amount that employees pay. This means the most you will pay in EI premiums for 2016 is $955.04.”

8.     The maximum benefit is $537 per week.


There are lots of particulars about this plan on the government website, so check it out.

Yes, $537 per week. That’s the money part of it. Self-employed persons must still figure out how to maintain their business while on leave. That’s a big challenge while beginning your journey with your newly adopted child.