March 30, 2020

Work-sharing Temporary Special Measures

May 4, 2020

Work-Sharing (“WS”) is an adjustment program for employers to avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in business that is beyond the employer’s control, by providing income support to eligible employees for Employment Insurance (“EI”) benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week.


Amidst COVID-19, the federal government has implemented temporary special measures to support employers and workers affected by COVID-19 by:

  1. Extending the maximum possible duration of a WS agreement from 38 weeks to 76 weeks;
  2. Waiving the mandatory cooling off period for employers who have already used the WS program so that eligible employers may immediately enter into a new agreement;
  3. Reducing the previous requirements for a Recovery Plan;
  4. Reducing the requirement and expanding eligibility to employers affected by accepting business who have been in operation for only 1 year (rather than 2), as well as, eliminating the burden of having to provide sales/production figures at the same time, and
  5. Expanding eligibly for staff who are essential to recovery, Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) and non-for profit organization employers.


These temporary special measures are effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021.




To qualify for WS employers must:

  • Be a private business, a publicly-held company, or a Government Business Enterprise (ie: a public corporation);
  • Be a not-for-profit organization experiencing a shortage of work due to a reduction of business activity and/or a reduction in revenue levels due to COVID-19;
  • Have been a year-round business in Canada for at least 1 year;
  • Have at least 2 employees in the WS unit; and
  • Demonstrate that the shortage of work is temporary and beyond their control, and is not cyclical/recurring slowdown.


To be an eligible employee must:

  • Be “core employees” (year round permanent full-time or part-time employees who are required to carry out everyday functions of normal business activity) or be employees considered essential to the recovery and viability of the business;
  • Be eligible to receive EI benefits;
  • Agree to a reduction of their normal working hours in order to share the available work.



How to Apply


Employers are requested to submit their applications 10 calendar days prior to the requested start date. To apply for the WS program, employers must:

Applications should be submitted to the email address corresponding to the geographic region based on either where the business is located or where the maximum participants are located.

For more information, please refer to the following detailed documents:



The federal government has developed Canada COVID-19 app to help Canadians track their symptoms and access the latest updates from trusted information sources directly on their smartphones. Alternatively, individuals can sign up to receive regular updates from the Government of Canada about COVID-19 directly to their email here.