After you apply

End of Wildfire special measures

Starting November 5, 2023 - the temporary changes to the Work-Sharing program implemented during the Wildfires will no longer be in effect. Agreements with a start date after November 5, 2023 will be under the regular Work-Sharing program. Active agreements starting on or before November 5, 2023 will not be impacted. Employers with questions related to the end of the Wildfire special measures may send inquiries to

Service Canada will assess your application to make sure:

Service Canada will acknowledge in writing the receipt of the application.

A Program Officer will inform all parties regarding the status of the application. All decisions regarding the application being approved or not approved will be provided in writing.

The Program Officer will conduct a cost analysis (comparing the cost related to temporary layoffs and the cost of the proposed Work-Sharing agreement). This analysis will establish the cost difference/effectiveness and will be one of the elements considered when assessing a Work-Sharing application. As well, the Program Officer will conduct a social/community impact assessment to determine the overall effect of the business on the community.

To recommend the application for approval, the Program Officer must conclude that:

Following the approval of the Work-Sharing agreement

In this section

Employer and employee/union representative obligations

Signing the agreement

If your application for a Work-Sharing agreement is approved, you will be required to sign a Work-Sharing agreement. By signing the agreement, all parties involved (employer, employer representative, employee representative and, if applicable, union representative, as well as Service Canada) agree to the information provided in the Work-Sharing application and to the terms of the Work-Sharing agreement. They understand that deliberately giving false or misleading information for the purpose of entering into a Work-Sharing agreement shall be subject to penalties as provided under the Employment Insurance Act.

In addition, the employer agrees to provide such documentation as may be required by the Canada Employment Insurance Commission. This includes copies of sales/production figures and payroll records, for purposes of verifying the information provided in the application and monitoring activities.

Acceptable signatures on the agreement

Wet signatures (signed in blue or black ink). The agreement containing all signatures must be scanned to PDF and returned by email to the Service Canada program officer. The original signed document must be retained by the employer for a period of 6 years after the agreement is terminated.

Acceptable signature on the final Attachment A

Wet signatures (signed in blue or black ink) of the employee or union representative. The final Attachment A listing eligible employees participating in the agreement scanned to PDF and returned by email to the Service Canada program officer. The employer must retain the original signed document for a period of 6 years after termination of the agreement.

Note: The final Attachment A will not include any employees on long-term leave, employees to be recalled later or those who are ineligible employees.

Sign the agreement within 60 calendar days

A Work-Sharing agreement must be signed within 60 calendar days from the date the application was approved by Service Canada.

If an agreement is not signed within 60 calendar days of the approval date, it will be cancelled or withdrawn.

When a Work-Sharing agreement is cancelled or withdrawn, and the employer wishes to participate in the Work-Sharing program, a new application must be submitted and approved.

Implement the signed agreement within 60 calendar days

To implement a signed Work-Sharing agreement all employees participating in the agreement must experience, during the same week, a minimum 10% reduction to their normal weekly earnings (also known as the interruption of earnings). The employer must advise their Service Canada program officer, in writing, of the week that implementation has or will occur.

When signed, a Work-Sharing agreement must be implemented within 60 calendar days of the agreement’s signing date. If not implemented within 60 calendar days, the agreement will be withdrawn. Once an agreement is withdrawn, and the employer still wishes to participate in the Work-Sharing program, a new application must be submitted and approved.

List of employer obligations during the agreement

  • Ensures information about the Work-Sharing agreement is accessible to all participating employees
  • Identifies the participating employees included in the Work-Sharing unit(s). A Work-Sharing unit is a minimum of 2 or more eligible employees with similar job duties who agree to reduce their normal working hours and equitably share the available work
  • Informs each participating employee of their determined normal weekly hours at the start of a Work-Sharing agreement based on the regular pattern of work for each individual (over the previous 2 years) prior to any reduction in work hours
  • Must securely submit to Employment Insurance an enrolment sheet that lists the participants in the Work-Sharing unit, their Social Insurance Numbers and their normal weekly hours of work. The enrolment sheet must be submitted via the Data Gateway or by courier immediately upon signing the Work-Sharing agreement
  • Issue a record of employment for each employee participating in the Work-Sharing agreement. The record of employment should be issued after the employee has completed their last shift prior to starting their participation in the Work-Sharing unit
  • Ensures employees participating in Work-Sharing are promptly provided the “Applying for Employment Insurance Work-Sharing Benefits” document valid for the week the employees started participating in the agreement and the region in which they are a participant. This document includes a reference code valid for the week the participating employees started on the Work-Sharing agreement. The reference code is only valid for the time period indicated on the document
  • Ensures that a copy of the Employee annex is distributed to all employees participating in Work-Sharing
  • Submit a weekly (Sunday to Saturday) utilization report for every week of the agreement including: weeks of shutdown, weeks with statutory holidays and weeks during which no hours are missed due to Work-Sharing
  • The employer must maintain all existing employee benefits (for example, health/dental insurance, pension benefits, vacation, group disability, etc.) for the duration of the Work-Sharing agreement
  • Maintain and retain records for each employee on Work-Sharing during the agreement, including hours worked each week (Sunday to Saturday), wages and any other remuneration paid to those employees each week for a period of 6 years beyond the termination of the agreement
    • Make such records available, upon request, to Service Canada for the purpose of monitoring, inspection and/or audits to ensure compliance with all terms and conditions within the Work-Sharing agreement
  • Implement recovery measures as noted in their Work-Sharing application and report progress of these recovery measures to Service Canada upon request
  • Are not authorized to add, remove or replace employees from the Work-Sharing unit without prior consent from Service Canada. Employers must follow the process for making changes to a Work-Sharing agreement, as these changes are an amendment to the agreement. Employers cannot increase staff in their workforce during the agreement, but may replace employees who choose to leave (this constitutes an amendment to the agreement)
    • For an employer with multiple departments, departments that are not participating in Work-Sharing may increase staff as required as these employees are not participating in the Work-Sharing agreement
  • Advise in advance any changes to the employer, employee or union representative as this constitutes an amendment to the agreement
  • Must advise Service Canada immediately in the event that the employer
    • becomes bankrupt
    • files a “notice of intention” to make a proposal under Part III of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) or files a proposal under that Part
    • commences proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA)
    • becomes subject to a receivership
    • files articles of amalgamation pursuant to any corporate statute
    • sells a controlling number of its shares
    • sells all or substantially all of its asset, or
    • has a change of ownership

List of employee / union representative obligations during the agreement

  • Distribute a copy of the Employee annex to all employees participating in the WS Agreement
  • Ensure each employee receives the appropriate “Applying for Employment Insurance Work-Sharing Benefits” document that includes the reference code valid for the week the employee starts participation in Work-Sharing
  • Provide information for employees to know what to expect when participating in this agreement
  • Informing employees of the requirements with respect to qualifying for Employment Insurance Work-Sharing benefits
  • Advise employees of the requirement to submit an application for Employment Insurance Work-Sharing benefits using the reference code provided
  • Advise the employees of the requirement to submit weekly claimant’s reports for Employment Insurance Work-Sharing benefits unless exempted from the requirement to file weekly claimant’s reports by the commission
  • Advise of the requirement that employees who wish to be exempted from filing weekly claimant’s reports for Employment Insurance Work-Sharing benefits during the period of this agreement must either agree to the exemption when submitting their claim for Employment Insurance benefits online or by telephone by calling Employment Insurance
  • Advise of the requirement with respect to the reporting of earnings from all sources so as to permit the calculation of the amount of Employment Insurance Work-Sharing benefits payable to employees
  • Ensure all employees added to this agreement at a later date are provided this same information within this section
  • Be responsible for employee needs and addressing any issues or concerns of the WS participants to the employer
  • Agree to what is stipulated in the Work-Sharing application and this agreement on behalf of the employees by authorizing both documents
  • Agree to changes in any amendment request to this agreement including additions, removals and/or substitutions by authorizing the amendment request

Employment Insurance Work-Sharing benefits during the agreement

Employees applying for Employment Insurance Work-Sharing benefits

Employment Insurance pays Work-Sharing benefits. To be payable, each individual employee must apply and qualify for Employment Insurance. The Employment Insurance application and eligibility information is available online at Employment Insurance benefits.

A Work-Sharing week is when an employee is required to work is paid and missed a minimum of 0.5 hours of Work-Sharing employment in a week. It is not enough that an employer pays an employee in the week; actual work must also be performed. Employees must remain available to the Work-Sharing employer for any hours, up to the number of hours normally worked for the Work-Sharing employer prior to the Work-Sharing agreement. If there is work available, the employees are expected to report for their normal shifts. If an employee could have worked, but was not available or declined to work these are not “hours missed” due to Work-Sharing.

The Employee annex details important information and instructions for all employees participating in Work-Sharing. 

When employees apply for Employment Insurance, they must enter a reference code to identify that they are a participant of a Work-Sharing agreement. Their reference code will be on the “Applying for Employment Insurance Work-Sharing Benefits” document they received from their Work-Sharing employer representative or the employee/union representative. This document contains important information for employees in order for them to apply for benefits.

The reference code is time sensitive and is only valid during the dates listed on the “Applying for Employment Insurance Work-Sharing Benefits” document. Therefore, it is important that participating employees submit their Employment Insurance application within this timeframe.

Employees participating in Work-Sharing must qualify to receive Employment Insurance benefits. An employee’s eligibility will be determined after the employee has filed for Employment Insurance benefits. The employee does not have to inform their employer of the status of their eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits. Employees may refuse to be part of a Work-Sharing agreement or may not be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits. In either case, they are required to reduce their hours of work on an equitable basis with employee who participate in the Work-Sharing agreement.

If an employee has questions about their claim for Employment Insurance benefits, they must contact Employment Insurance.

Tax deductions for Work-Sharing benefits

Employment Insurance Work-Sharing benefits are taxable. Federal and provincial or territorial taxes, where applicable, will be deducted from payments.

For more information, participating employees can review Employment Insurance and repayment of benefits at income tax time.

Waiting period for Work-Sharing benefits

The waiting period is deferred for Work-Sharing participants, until a week that is not a Work-Sharing week is processed as a week of regular or special benefits. This could occur either during the period of the Work-Sharing agreement, or once the agreement has terminated.

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