Work-Sharing helps prevent layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The program requires a three-way agreement to be negotiated between the employer, employees, and Service Canada, and provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while the business recovers.
Most recent update: In its 2021 budget, released April 19, the federal government proposed extending the temporary enhancements to the Work-Sharing Program to establish longer agreements and streamline applications to help employers and workers avoid layoffs. This change won’t come into effect until Parliament passes the budget; we will update the information below when it does.
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Amount businesses can receive: The business does not receive any money. A work-sharing agreement allows the business to retain workers at a reduced cost by having employees receive EI to compensate for a part of the wages lost due to a reduction in available work hours.
Program duration: On-going. This program is not COVID-specific.
How to apply: Via e-mail to Service Canada. See FAQ below for details.
When to apply: Applications must be made at minimum 10 days before you wish the work-sharing agreement to start
Application deadline: No deadline, however program rules may change after March 14, 2021
Eligibility criteria: See the FAQ below for details.
An employer, participating employees, and Service Canada enter into an agreement that the employees will:
- work reduced hours,
- share available work, and
- receive EI benefits to compensate for lost wages.
The program permits employers to retain experienced workers and avoid layoffs, while employees keep their jobs and maintain their skills.
To be eligible for the Work-Sharing Program, you must:
- Have been in business in Canada year-round for at least 1 year;
- Be a private business, a publicly held company, or non-for-profit organization;
- Show a decrease in business activity of approximately 10%;
- Have employees who are eligible to receive Employment Insurance benefits; and who will agree to a reduction of their normal working hours
- Have a minimum of two employees;
- Be willing to wait 10 days to negotiate your Workshare agreement.
To be eligible for the Work-Sharing Program, employees must:
- Be part of your core staff: permanent, year-round employees necessary to carry out the day-to-day functions of the business; or be considered vital to the recovery and viability of the business
- Be eligible to receive EI benefits
- Agree to reduce their normal working hours and to share any available work
Email the following two items to Service Canada to start the negotiation process for your workshare agreement (this will be unique for every location or work-sharing unit.)
- an Application for a Work-Sharing Agreement ESDC-EMP5100 (including attachments and signatures of both employer representative(s) and employee representative(s)
- Attachment A (a list of employees included in the Work-Sharing unit) available in PDF (8 KB) and Excel (36 KB) format)
Note: Service Canada must receive the package at least 10 days before the requested start date of the Work-Sharing Agreement.
Atlantic Provinces - [email protected]
Quebec - [email protected]
Ontario - [email protected]
Western Canada and Territories - [email protected]
What is CFIB advocating for on Workshare?
What we have achieved:
What we’re pushing for:
- Ensuring operational glitches are removed to maximize the potential of the work-sharing program during and after the pandemic.
Get more information
- To see more about what CFIB has achieved during COVID-19, please see our summary of changes to the federal aid programs.
Our primary concern at CFIB is making sure you have the support you need to get through this uncertain and challenging time. We provide you with expert advice and ensure that you have all of the latest information on government announcements and available support.