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Canada's Work Sharing program extended

By Mario Cywinski |

Work Sharing programs provided by the federal government will be extended, effective immediately. Canada’s Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Diane Finley, announced that now Work Sharing agreements will last 52 weeks, an extension of 14 weeks.

"Our Government knows that by keeping Canadians working, we can minimize the impact of this difficult economic time," said Finley. "The changes to Work-Sharing agreements will give companies easier access to these agreements and extend Work Sharing to 52 weeks while the companies recover from temporary slowdowns."

It is hoped that the extended time period will allow more businesses to stay on their feet during the economic downturn. As well as reduce the amount of workers who would be laid off.

Work Sharing is an element of Canada’s Employment Insurance (EI) program. Qualifying employees, who take a reduced work week from the company they work for, will have a portion of their remaining wages paid for by EI.

Qualifying criteria for the Work Sharing program have been laxed to help accommodate more workers.

The new Work Sharing criteria will be in effect until April 3, 2010. It is estimated that the total cost for the change will be $200 million over the next two years.

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