Canada’s Work-Sharing program provides income support to employees working a temporarily decreased workweek during a period of reduced business activity. Effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021, the Work-Sharing program is taking temporary action to support employers affected by the downturn caused by COVID-19. These enhancements are for all sectors and industries.

Updates to the WS Program include:

  • Applications can be submitted a minimum of 10 calendar days prior to the requested start date
  • Extension of the maximum WS duration possible from 38 weeks to 76 weeks
  • WS income support to employees eligible for employment insurance (EI) and processed through the EI payment system
  • The expected work reduction is from a minimum of 10% to a maximum of 60%. The reduction of hours can vary from week to week if the average reduction over the course of the agreement is from 10% to 60%
  • The mandatory waiting period has been waived for employers who have already used the WS program so that eligible employers may immediately enter into a new agreement
  • Employers, employees, and unions must all agree to apply to WS and working hours (equal sharing of work)
  • A utilization report must be submitted weekly for payment and the first payment will take up to three to four weeks
  • There is no retroactive pay – therefore, it is imperative you get your Work-Sharing application in ASAP

Eligible Employers

To be eligible for a Work-Sharing arrangement, employers must:

  • Demonstrate a recent decrease in business activity by 10%
  • Demonstrate that the work shortage is temporary and beyond their control
  • Be a for-profit or not-for-profit organization operating year-round in Canada for at least one year. (This is a COVID-19 upgrade; typically, businesses are to be operating for at least two years).

Eligible Employees

To be eligible for a Work-Sharing arrangement, employees must:

  • Be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits
  • Agree to a reduction of normal working hours and share the available work hours
  • Be “core employees” (year-round, permanent, full-time, or part-time employees needed to carry out the day-to-day functions of the business)

How to apply

To access the Work-Sharing program, employers must submit an application, recovery plan, and other mandatory forms.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Benefits and services – Canada.ca

Our priority is the health and safety of all Canadians, while maintaining service to the public. We are temporarily closing in person Service Canada Centres to allow us to better prioritize capacity and to ensure critical service delivery to vulnerable clients.

www.canada.ca