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Ask an Expert

Maternity Leave

Expert: Gordon McFee

Christine asked:

I have just started up my own business (as a sole proprietorship). I am planning on starting a family soon and I would like to be able to collect maternity leave payments. Can I contribute to something (EI, etc) to be able to receive the benefits?

Gordon McFee answered:

There is nothing that I am aware of that would allow you to collect maternity benefits as a sole proprietor. Self employed individuals have never been eligible for EI benefits under the HRDC.

If you have been employed prior to starting your own business you may be eligible for benefits from your past employer. In order to receive maternity benefits through a past employer you must accumulate 600 working hours with that employer in the 52 weeks prior to having your child.

I recommend that you visit your local HRDC branch and explain to them the details of your particular situation.

This link will take you to the HRDC office locator:

About the author

Gordon McFee is the Senior Director of Policy and Legislation Development with Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).

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