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MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO, April 9, 2010-The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, announced today that the Government of Canada is enhancing the Work-Sharing program. While speaking to employees at Mascot Truck Parts, Minister Finley highlighted the support Canadian workers are receiving through the Government's "Jobs and Growth Budget" with enhancements to the Work‑Sharing program. The enhancements to the program will enable more Canadians to continue working while companies experience a temporary slowdown.
"The Canadian economy is improving, but full recovery has not yet been achieved, and many Canadians still need our support," said Minister Finley. "That is why our government is taking concrete action to help businesses avoid layoffs, and keep Canadians working."
Recognizing the uncertainty facing many businesses, Budget 2010 provided an extension to the enhanced Work-Sharing measure introduced in the first year of Canada's Economic Action Plan. Budget 2010 also put in place an extension of up to 26 weeks (to a maximum of 78 weeks) for employers with active, or recently terminated, Work-Sharing agreements. Both of these enhancements will be in place until April 2, 2011.
Under Work‑Sharing, employers can retain employees and avoid expensive re-hiring and re‑training costs. Employees are able to continue working and keep their skills up to date. As of March 28, 2010, there were close to 5,500 active Work-Sharing agreements nationally benefiting close to 135,000 participants, and since February 2009, the program has helped protect the jobs of more than 255,000 Canadians. Many Work-Sharing agreements are ending early as businesses, such as Mascot Truck Parts, recover and resume normal operations.
"Thanks to support from the Work-Sharing program, I feel good about our future," said Mr. Glenn Hanthorn, President, Mascot Truck Parts. "Work-Sharing has allowed us to avoid layoffs and retain our trained and experienced staff, giving us a competitive head start now that the economy is recovering."
Other examples of Work-Sharing successes
Michelin Canada recently celebrated 40 years of manufacturing in Nova Scotia, and thanks to support from the Government of Canada's Work-Sharing program, the relationship between one of the world's largest tire manufacturers and Nova Scotians will continue for years to come. In order to deal with the recent economic downturn, the company signed a Work-Sharing agreement for its Waterville, Nova Scotia, facility in the spring of 2009 to cover more than 500 employees for a 34-week period.
Since transitioning off Work-Sharing at its Waterville facility, Michelin Canada has lifted its hiring freeze, hiring 40 new employees for its plants across Nova Scotia, and intends to hire more people to replace the positions left vacant due to the freeze.
Northern Uniform Service
Northern Uniform Service, based in Sudbury, Ontario, has served the retail and wholesale laundry market in Ontario since 1901. Staying in business for over 100 years has required both commitment and the ability to adapt to changing times. However, like many other companies, the downturn in the economy has had a negative impact on Northern Uniform Service's business. Since April 2009, almost 50 of the company's employees have benefited from Work-Sharing.
MODUS Modular Structures Inc.
MODUS Modular Structures Inc., located in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, is a leading provider of high-performance modular structures. Deployed in hundreds of locations across Canada, MODUS modular structures have been relied on by schools, telecommunications firms, and the oil and gas industry. MODUS' Work-Sharing agreement began July 2009 and ended December 2009. It was supposed to be a 52-week agreement-scheduled to end in July 2010, but MODUS returned to full production sooner and was able to end the agreement early.
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Work-Sharing is designed to help companies facing a temporary downturn in business avoid layoffs by offering Employment Insurance Part I income support to workers willing to work a reduced work week while their company recovers.
To qualify for Work-Sharing, employers must have been in business in Canada for at least two years and be able to show that the need for reduced hours is temporary and unavoidable. They must produce a recovery plan detailing how their company will remain viable during the period of the Work-Sharing agreement and recover as the economy strengthens.
Work-Sharing agreements have a minimum duration of 6 weeks. Under the second year of Canada's Economic Action Plan, Budget 2010 made available an extension of up to 26 weeks for employers with active or recently terminated agreements. These extensions must end by April 2, 2011.
For new agreements that start on or after April 4, 2010, the maximum initial Work‑Sharing agreement duration is 26 weeks, with a possible extension of up to a maximum total duration of 38 weeks. Flexibility in the eligibility criteria will continue to apply to new agreements until April 2, 2011.
Further information on Work-Sharing can be found on the following Web site: www.servicecanada.gc.ca/work_sharing.