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Work-Sharing Program

What is the Work-sharing Program?

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.


Program overview FAQ
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Work-Sharing Overview

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Work-Sharing Resources

What is CFIB advocating for on Workshare?

What we have achieved:

  • Successfully lobbied to expand the work-sharing program during COVID and to reduce red tape in the application process
  • Alerted Service Canada to CERB & EI-workshare issues

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.


Visit our COVID-19 Help Centre

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.