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Work-Sharing Program | Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)




A Work-Sharing agreement helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when:

  • there is a temporary decrease in the normal level of business activity, and
  • the decrease is beyond the control of the employer

The agreement provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible employers
To be eligible for a Work-Sharing agreement, your business must:

  • be a year-round business in Canada for at least 1 year
  • be a private business or a publicly held company, and
  • have at least 2 employees in the Work-Sharing unit
  • During COVID-19, Work-Sharing extended eligibility to:

Government Business Enterprises, also referred to as public corporations, and
not-for-profit employers experiencing a shortage of work. Shortage due to a reduction of business activity and/or a reduction in revenue levels due to COVID-19

Eligible employees
To be eligible for Work-Sharing Employment Benefits, your employees must:

  • be year-round, permanent, full-time or part-time employees needed to carry out the day-to-day functions of the business (your “core staff”)
  • be eligible to receive Employment Insurance (EI) benefits*, and
    agree to reduce their normal working hours by the same percentage and to share the available work

During COVID-19, Work-Sharing extended eligibility to:

  • employees considered essential to the recovery and viability of the business, such as:
    • technical employees engaged in product development
    • outside sales agents
    • marketing agents

Eligible Expenses

Deadline Date

  Special measures are effective March 15, 2020 to September 24, 2022.
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