This post is to remind all postdocs working in Canada about an upcoming deadline that may be significant to anyone who is contemplating filing for a ruling from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to gain access to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) statutory benefits programs (i.e., a CPP/EI Ruling).

The deadline to apply for a CPP/EI Ruling pertaining to work performed (’employment’) between January and December 2016 is June 30th, 2017.

So, you have 4 days to complete and submit form CPT1 (Request for a Ruling as to the Status of a Worker under the Canada Pension Plan and/or the Employment Insurance Act) if you wish to retroactively request access to CPP and/or EI for your work in 2016.

Why is this important?

Given the murky employment status of many postdocs working in Canada, CPP/EI Rulings are often the only option available to those of us facing financial challenges due to normal life events such as having/adopting a child, falling ill, or losing your job.

To address this issue I wrote an article about CPP/EI Rulings that was posted on the CAPS/ACSP website in June 2016. The article detailed this process, factors to consider in deciding whether a ruling would be in your personal best interest, and some guidelines regarding the information used by the CRA in making these decisions.

While some minor details have changed (see updates below), for the most part the advice provided in the original article remains accurate and reliable. You can access the original article here – “CRA Employment Status Rulings: Important information for all postdocs working in Canada”.

Months after the original article appeared on the CAPS/ACSP website the CRA decided to issue an interpretive article explaining how they decide whether a postdoc is an employee for the purposes of access to CPP and EI. I recommend that anyone considering requesting a ruling also read this article, which can be found here.

In closing, I would like to remind you all to consider this option carefully, as it may not be the best choice for every person, particularly if you wish to avoid conflict with your supervisor and/or administration. Having said that, this approach can be effective for those who meet the criteria listed in the articles above. CAPS/ACSP is aware of at least 2 successful requests for rulings by postdocs in the past year. If you’ve requested a ruling, please let us know and keep us updated regarding the outcome. If you have any questions or comments about this post, you are always welcome to email the Executive ( or message me personally (

Thanks for your time and all the best.

Joseph S. Sparling, PhD

Updates to the original CPP/EI Rulings article:

  • The EI premium rates went down in 2017, so the rate is now 1.63% with a maximum annual premium of $836.19 for employees and $1,170.67 for employers. The rate for CPP remained at 4.95% for 2017, but the maximum annual contribution for employees and employers increased to $2,564.10. It should also be noted that rates of deductions for employees in Quebec differ from those provided. Quebec has a lower EI rate, which is set at 1.27% with maximum annual premiums of $651.51 and $912.11 for employees and employers, respectively. The rate for the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) is slightly higher than that of CPP at 5.4% with a maximum annual contribution of $2,797.20 in 2017.
  • I recently learned that the CRA has made it more difficult to contact a CPP/EI Ruling agent by phone to ask questions beforehand, so be warned that you may not find it helpful to call the 1-800-959-5525 number provided in the article. I would still recommend trying if you have any questions – they may change this policy if they get enough complaints about it.
  • The email address is now defunct. To contact the Executive Board please email

For a full listing of the types of benefits offered through Employment Insurance and links to the details for each benefit program, please follow this link.