Work-Sharing program for employers - Temporary special measures for COVID-19 overview

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Work-Sharing is an Employment Insurance (EI) program that helps employers and employees avoid layoffs. The program allows employers to retain skilled employees when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer.

Temporary special measures

  • Extension of the maximum possible duration of an agreement from 38 week to 76 weeks
  • Mandatory cooling off period has been waived for employers who have already used the Work-Sharing program so that eligible employers may immediately enter into a new agreement
  • Reduce the previous requirements for a recovery plan to a single line of text within the application form
  • Reduce the requirement and expand eligibility to employers affected by accepting business who have been in business for only 1 year rather than 2, and eliminate the burden of having to provide sales/production figures at the same time
  • Expand eligibility for staff who are essential to recovery, Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) and non-for-profit organization employers


  • You have you been in business for at least 1 year
  • You have 2 or more employees that are normally year-round permanent, full or part time that are 'core' staff for your business
  • Your employees are eligible and willing to receive Employment Insurance benefits and agree to a reduction in hours to share any available work
  • Your business is a publicly held company or a private business
  • You are a Government Business Enterprises (GBEs), also referred to as public corporation
  • You are a not-for-profit employer experiencing a shortage of work due to a reduction of business activity and/or a reduction in revenue levels due to COVID-19

If you were able to identify yourself in the above mentioned statements, you may be eligible for the Work-Sharing program and the Special Measures for COVID-19.

Ineligible employers:

Your business is not eligible for Work-Sharing if it is experiencing a reduction in business activity due to:

  • a labour dispute
  • a seasonal shortage of work
  • a recent increase in the size of the workforce
  • self employed

And if you are a:

  • shareholder who is responsible for the direction of the company and who holds 40% and more of the voting shares
  • employer who operates solely for the purpose of carrying out the administration of a government program/activity that is purely government in nature. For example:
    • municipalities
    • government agencies

If you already have a work-sharing agreement in place or have had one in the past

  • You have an agreement that begins or ends between March 15, 2020 and March 14, 2021
  • You have an agreement that was signed between March 15, 2020 and March 13, 2021. The start date must be no later than March 14, 2021
  • You have an agreement that ended between June 23, 2019 and March 14, 2020 and it is in the mandatory waiting period

If you can identify yourself in these statements, you may be eligible for an extension to your agreement or have the mandatory waiting period waived.

How to apply

To submit a request for a new agreement or for an extension, you must submit the following documents:

Submit your application

Please send your application to one of the following email addresses, based on the area your business is located.

Atlantic Provinces

Email: [email protected]


Email: [email protected]


Email: [email protected]

Western Canada and Territories

Email: [email protected]

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

Contact us

For more information on the Work-Sharing program, employers across Canada may call toll-free.

Canada and the United States

Toll-free: 1-800-367-5693

TTY: 1-855-881-9874

Outside Canada and the United States

Telephone: 506-546-7569 (collect calls accepted)

Hours of operation: 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, Eastern Time, Monday to Friday.

Service Canada has also created an enquiry unit for clients affected by COVID-19 that are seeking information related to the Work-Sharing Program. Enquiries can be sent to the generic mailbox below for specific Work-Sharing information or to request general information about the Program.

Email: [email protected]

Please refer to the Work-Sharing Program- COVID-19 web page for more information.

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