Overview

A Work-Sharing agreement helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when:

The agreement provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers.

A Work-Sharing agreement is a 3-party agreement involving employers, employees and Service Canada.

Employees on a Work-Sharing agreement must agree to:

The employer and the employees involved (and the union, if applicable) must agree to participate in a Work-Sharing agreement. Then the employer applies to participate in a Work-Sharing agreement.

Special measures

COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus)

The Government of Canada has put in place Work-Sharing special measures for employers affected by the downturn in business related to COVID-19.

Special measures are effective March 15, 2020 to September 24, 2022.

These measures extend the duration of Work-Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks. That brings the total to 76 weeks (regardless of how many weeks a business has used prior to March 14, 2020) followed by a possible new 26-week subsequent agreement.

Initial 76-week agreement

Employers can benefit from a 76-week agreement if their Work-Sharing agreement:

Employers can benefit from a 76-week agreement under COVID-19 temporary special measures once.

Subsequent 26-week agreement

Businesses that completed a 76-week agreement under COVID-19 temporary special measures by September 24, 2022 can begin a new subsequent 26-week agreement immediately after or anytime during the 26-week period following the end of their agreement (without serving a mandatory cooling off period).

If an employer accesses a 26-week subsequent agreement and terminates it early, they will be required to serve a mandatory cooling off period of 26 weeks before starting a new agreement under the regular Work-Sharing program.

Additional flexibilities included in the COVID-19 temporary special measures

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.

Forestry sector

To support businesses affected by the downturn in the forestry sector, special measures were effective from July 30, 2017 to March 28, 2020.

To support businesses affected by the wildfires in Fort McMurray, special measures were effective between May 4, 2016 and May 4, 2017.

Commodities sector

To support employers affected by the downturn in the commodities sector, special measures were effective between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017.

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