The Government of Canada has put in place Work-Sharing (WS) temporary special measures for employers affected by the downturn in business due to COVID-19. Work-Sharing (WS) is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers. Other measures are still in place for the forestry and steel and aluminum sectors.

These measures extend the duration of Work-Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks, for a total of 76 weeks. The mandatory waiting period has also been waived so that employers with a recently expired agreement may immediately apply for a new agreement, without waiting between applications and ease Recovery Plan requirements for the duration of the WS agreement.

COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus)

Temporary special measures are effective March 15, 2020, to March 14, 2021.


You are eligible to apply if you are experiencing a downturn in business activity related to the global outbreak of COVID-19, and have:

  • WS agreements signed between March 15, 2020, and March 13, 2021
  • WS agreements that began, or ended between March 15, 2020, and March 14, 2021, and
  • WS agreements that ended between June 23, 2019, and March 14, 2020, and are in their mandatory cooling-off period

How to apply

**Please refer to the WS Applicant guide for the temporary special measures  for more information on how to complete your application.**

If you are applying for a new agreement or had a WS agreement that ended:

  • between June 23, 2019, and March 14, 2020 (for COVID-19)
  • between October 30, 2016, and July 29, 2017 (for the forestry sector), or
  • between November 25, 2018, and August 18, 2018 (for the steel and aluminum sector)

You must submit the following documents:

If you currently have a 38-week agreement in place and are applying for the 38-week extension, you must submit the following documents:

Please apply at least 30 days before you want the temporary special measures to begin.

In Western Canada, you may submit by emailing: EDSC.WT.WS-TP.ESDC@servicecanada.gc.ca


Source: Government of Canada.