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What Employers Need to Know About Canada’s Work-Sharing Program

What is it?

The Work-Sharing program was created to reduce layoffs, during periods of decreased business activity outside of the employer’s control. Through Work-Sharing, employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits can receive income support, while they work a temporarily reduced work week until their employer recoups.

How do I apply to the Work-Sharing program?

Work-Sharing is a three-party agreement between the employer, employees and Service Canada. Employees on a Work-Sharing agreement must agree to a reduced work schedule and to share the available work over a specified period.

The employer and employees involved (and the union, if that’s applicable) must agree to participate in a Work-Sharing agreement. The employer can then apply to participate to the program. The application must be submitted minimum of 10 days (COVID-19 special measure) before the requested start date.

Temporary Work-Sharing special measures for employers and employees impacted by COVID-19

The following measures are effective from March 15, 2020 to September 24, 2022:

The temporary Work-Sharing Special Measures include:

  • Maximum duration of an agreement has been extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks
  • Prior to COVID-19, employers were required to submit application forms at least 30 calendar days before the requested start date. The number of days have now been reduced to 10 business days.
  • Mandatory cooling off period has been waived for employers who have already used the Work-Sharing program so that eligible employers may immediately enter into a new agreement
  • Reduce the previous requirements for a Recovery Plan to a single line of text in the application form (Box 25)
  • Expand eligibility to employers affected by accepting businesses who have been in operation for only one year rather than two, and remove the need to provide sales/production figures at the same time, and
  • Expand eligibility for staff who are essential to recovery, Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) and non-for-profit organization employers.
  • Typed in names in the application form and the Work-Sharing agreement will work in place of wet signatures

Do you need help creating policies in compliance with provincial laws?

Our experts can help you create company policies, and assist you with any HR management, health & safety, and employment advice you may need. To learn more about how our services can benefit your business, call an expert today at 1 (833) 247-3652.

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