The Work-Sharing Program helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when:
- there is a temporary decrease in the normal level of business activity, and
- the decrease is beyond the control of the employer
The agreement provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers. All employees participating in the agreement must experience a minimum 10% reduction to their normal weekly earnings.
A Work-Sharing agreement is a three party agreement involving employers, employees and Service Canada.
Employees on a Work-Sharing agreement must agree to:
- a reduced schedule of work, and
- share the available work equally over the term of the agreement
The employer and the employees involved (and the union, if applicable) must agree to participate in a Work-Sharing agreement. Then, the employer/employer representative, employee representative and, if applicable, the union representative apply to participate in a Work-Sharing agreement.
Agreement duration and extension
Work-Sharing agreements starting after September 25, 2022 must have a minimum duration of 6 weeks and can last up to 26 weeks. If needed, an extension may be requested of up to 12 weeks bringing the initial agreement to a maximum total of 38 weeks. Work-Sharing agreements are not extended automatically. To request an extension of a Work-Sharing agreement, an application must be submitted a minimum of 10 business days prior to the end date of the Work-Sharing agreement.
A mandatory cooling-off period must be served once the agreement has ended or has been terminated. The duration of the cooling-off period will be equal to the number of weeks utilized in the previous agreement (up to a maximum of 38 weeks).
Please note that Work-Sharing agreements can only start on a Sunday to align with the Employment Insurance payment cycle. Please consider this when planning the desired start date of your agreement in your Work-Sharing application.
The Work-Sharing Program may introduce temporary special measures at any time to provide additional support for affected businesses during a period of economic downturn, natural disaster or if a national emergency is declared. The special measures provide targeted support for businesses impacted to recover and avoid layoffs for a specific period of time.
To support businesses affected by the economic downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic, special measures were in effect from March 15, 2020 to September 24, 2022.
At the end of a special measures agreement, a mandatory 26-week cooling-off period must be served before being eligible to enter a new agreement under the regular program.
If you need support with your active COVID-19 special measures agreement, please contact your regional Work-Sharing unit
Steel and aluminum sector
To support businesses affected by the downturn in the steel and aluminum sector, special measures were effective from August 19, 2018 to March 27, 2021.
To support businesses affected by the downturn in the forestry sector, special measures were in effect from July 30, 2017 to March 28, 2020.
To support businesses affected by the wildfires in Fort McMurray, special measures were in effect between May 4, 2016 and May 4, 2017.
To support employers affected by the downturn in the commodities sector, special measures were effective between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017.
- Date modified: