A few months ago, we wrote about the proposed legislation to allow self-employed people to pay into and access maternity, parental, adoptive, sickness and compassionate care benefits (see: Changes to employment insurance for the self-employed).

The legislation is now in force and self-employed people who wish to access benefits can start paying into employment insurance. Benefits will be available starting in January 2011. To access benefits starting in January 2011, you need to register for employment insurance special benefits by April 1, 2010. If you register after April 1, 2010, you will need to wait a full year (12 months) before you are eligible for benefits.

For more information on the rules and process of registering for and accessing these benefits, please see: Employment Insurance Benefits for Self-Employed People.