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COVID-19 – Lay offs – For Employers – Federal Work Sharing Program

For Employers – Federal Work Sharing Program

This program allows for eligible employers to avoid layoffs and retain skilled employees and workers during the uncontrollable business downturn resulting from COVID-19.

Note that applications for a work-sharing agreement must be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the requested start date. This has not changed in the response to COVID-19.

As of this writing (March 20, 2020) the Federal government has stated it will provide an additional $12 million to the Work-Sharing Program to allow it to:

  • Extend the work-sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks (to a total of 76 weeks);
  • Wave mandatory waiting periods; and
  • Ease the recovery plan requirements.

Eligible Employers must:

  • Have been in business in Canada for at least two (2) years;
  • Be a private business, a publicly-held company, or a not-for-profit organization;
  • Demonstrate that the shortage of work is temporary and beyond their control, and is not a cyclical/recurring slowdown;
  • Demonstrate a recent decrease in business activity of approximately 10%; and,
  • Submit and implement a recovery plan designed to return the Work-Sharing unit(s) to normal working hours by the end of the Work-Sharing agreement. There must be a reasonable expectation that recovery (that is, a return to normal work hours for all participating employees) will be achieved by the end of the agreement.

Note: A franchise will be treated as a stand-alone business.

Eligible Employees for the program must:

  • be “core employees” (i.e. year round permanent full-time or part-time employees who are required to carry out the everyday functions of normal business activity);
  • be eligible to receive Employment Insurance benefits; and
  • agree to a reduction of their normal working hours in order to share the available work

More information can be found here:


The employment lawyers at Doak Shirreff Lawyers LLP are here to assist and can even do so remotely as needed during this time. Please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or call 250-763-4323, or through our toll-free number at 1-800-661-4959.