Work-Sharing – Overview

From: Employment and Social Development Canada


Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, there are changes to this program and this page is no longer accurate.  All Work-Sharing agreements fall under the COVID-19 special measures, until further notice.

1. Overview

Work-Sharing is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers.

Work-Sharing 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 to share the available work over a specified period of time.


The Government of Canada introduced temporary special measures that extend the maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements from 38 weeks to 76 weeks across Canada for those businesses affected by the downturn in business due to COVID-19 and for the steel and aluminum sector. Access the Work-Sharing temporary special measures page to find out if you are eligible.

Apply now

The employer and the employees (and the union, if applicable) must agree to participate in a Work-Sharing agreement and must apply together. The COVID-19 streamlined measures introduced by Service Canada aimed at reducing the processing time to 10 business days (down from 30 business days) prior to the start date of the agreement. As a result, employers are currently required to submit their applications a minimum of 10 business days prior to the requested start date of the agreement (please see Work-Sharing Program-COVID-19 for details)

Please note that Work-Sharing agreements can only start on a Sunday to align with the Employment Insurance payment cycle, please also consider this in the planning of your Work-Sharing application.

Before applying, please read all the information provided (including the Work-Sharing Applicant Guide) and discuss it with your employees.

For more information on the Work-Sharing program:

  • employers across Canada may call toll-free 1-800-367-5693 (TTY: 1-855-881-9874)
  • employees across Canada may call toll-free:
    • English: 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742)
    • French: 1-800-808-6352 (ATS: 1-800-529-3742)

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