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Workforce Flexibility and Government Incentives in times of Covid-19 - Canada

Short-Term Work State Aid

Covid-19 Questionnaire

Are there any regulations in place providing an employer with possibility for flexible workforce planning such as part-time work/temporary leave which are triggered in a situation similar to a pandemic outbreak as Covid-19?


If YES on question 1, please describe which type of regulation. Please confirm if and to what extent such leave can be supported by state aid and/or other extra-ordinary governmental support.

General employment standards statutes which speak to job-protected leaves of absence and govern under what circumstances employers may unilaterally place employees on unpaid leaves of absence or temporarily lay them off. There is also a federal mandatory employment insurance regime which insures employees during extended leaves of absence. In addition, the government has initiated several Covid-19 specific programs, a summary of which can be found at the following link:

if YES on question 1, please describe which contacts that may need to be initiated with trade unions and/or works councils. Must a special process be followed?

Yes, It will depend on the planned course of action and terms of collective agreement. Generally, unions and/or work councils should be kept informed of such material workforce planning matters.

Are there any governmental programs if a company needs to close totally or partially for a certain time period?

Yes. New programs are being proposed daily, but currently employers can explore programs that may assist during a downturn. Please see the following link which sets out the key federal government programs:

Click here.

Click here.

If state aid and/or other extra-ordinary governmental support is available, please describe the necessary prerequisites to qualify for such state aid.

Refer to response to Q2

If state aid and/or other extra-ordinary governmental support is available, please describe the application procedure for such state aid (e.g. how and when is the application filed with the government etcetera; what shall such application include).

Refer to response to Q2

Please note that the COVID-19 scenario is constantly changing and that this information is current as of 04 June 2020. This publication should not be regarded as offering a complete explanation of the legal matters referred to and is subject to changes in the law and other applicable rules.