Softwood lumber: important notice

The Government of Canada is prepared to support workers and their families who are affected by the April 24, 2017, U.S. decision to impose preliminary countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber products.

In addition to existing Employment Insurance benefits, skills and training supports, and Service Canada offerings, the Government announced close to $90 million to extend Work-Sharing, a job retention program, and to increase funding for provincially delivered skills training and employment services for affected workers and employers in the softwood lumber industry.

Employment Insurance

Employment Insurance (EI) provides temporary income support to Canadians when they have lost their job through no fault of their own while they look for work or upgrade their skills, and helps them to balance work and life responsibilities resulting from illness, pregnancy, the birth or adoption of a child, or family caregiving needs.

Applying for Employment Insurance


Work-Sharing is an adjustment program that helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity experienced by the employer. The program provides income support to workers eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who agree to work a temporarily reduced work week and share the available work while their employer recovers.

Effective July 30, 2017 to March 28, 2020, the Government of Canada has put in place Work-Sharing (WS) temporary special measures for employers affected by the downturn in the forestry sector. These measures extend the duration of Work-Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks, for a total of 76 weeks. The mandatory waiting period has also been waived so that employers with a recently expired agreement may immediately apply for a new agreement, without waiting between applications. These measures will help employers avoid layoffs and retain skilled workers.

More information on Work-Sharing

Working while on claim

The Working While on Claim pilot project helps Employment Insurance (EI) claimants stay connected to the labour market and earn some additional income while receiving EI benefits.

The pilot allows them to continue receiving a portion of your EI benefits along with all earnings from a job. This pilot project was renewed last August for another two years, until August 11, 2018.

For more information on Working while on claim pilot projects

Help to find new jobs

Training agreements with the provinces and territories

The Government of Canada currently transfers almost $3 billion annually to provinces and territories to support employment and skills training programs. Through Budget 2017, the Government of Canada will significantly boost federal support to provinces and territories by $2.7 billion over six years, starting in 2017 to 2018, to help more unemployed and underemployed Canadians from coast to coast to coast get the training and employment supports they need to find and keep good jobs.

To help workers impacted by the softwood lumber trade dispute with the U.S., the Government will invest an additional $80 million through Employment Insurance Part II and the Labour Market Development Agreements over the next two years to provide displaced workers with training and employment supports they need to successfully transition to new jobs.

Learn more about Labour Market Development Agreements

Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy

The Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) helps Indigenous people in all parts of the country get the training and develop the skills they need to fully participate in the economy and contribute to the success of their communities.

Given the proximity of many Indigenous communities to forested areas, many Indigenous workers in the forestry sector could be affected by the imposition of U.S. duties on Canadians softwood lumber products.  To ensure affected Indigenous workers have the opportunity to enhance or develop their skills to find new jobs, ASETS are well placed to support retraining and reskilling as necessary

Learn more about ASETS

For more information

For information on the softwood lumber trade dispute, please visit:

For information on Canada’s forests, please consult Natural Resources Canada.

Page details

Date modified: