Fort McMurray – The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, today encouraged employers to take advantage of extended Work-Sharing agreements that will help them retain workers during difficult economic times while also keeping them on the job. The Minister made the remarks at Heavy North Construction Ltd. in Fort McMurray – a current participant in the Government’s Work-Sharing program – and later hosted a roundtable discussion with various stakeholders in the Wood Buffalo area.
As of April 1, 2016, eligible employers across Canada impacted by the downturn in the commodities sector can benefit from an additional 38 weeks under the Work-Sharing program, for a maximum of 76 weeks. This program helps employers retain skilled employees and avoid the cost of recruiting and training new employees when business levels return to normal. It will also help employees to continue working and maintain their skills while supplementing their wages with Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for the days they are not working.
The extension of the maximum length of Work-Sharing agreements is one measure in a series of improvements to the EI program announced in Budget 2016, and will provide assistance to businesses and employees that have been directly or indirectly affected by the downturn in the commodities sector.
“Work-Sharing is good for workers and for businesses. It means fewer layoffs and more certainty for employees, and it helps businesses get through difficult times. Keeping our commitment to doubling Work-Sharing agreements is part of our plan to help the middle class in Alberta and across Canada,” said The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.
“Heavy North Construction Ltd. has recently utilized the Government of Canada’s Work-Sharing program as a part of our strategy to manage costs during the economic slowdown in Fort McMurray. This forward thinking program has allowed Heavy North to temporarily reduce our overhead costs while maintaining our trained and qualified work force and ensuring our staff have not been affected by lay-offs resulting in a loss of income. This program has been a win-win for all parties involved,” said Tom Wilson, Chief Financial Officer, Heavy North Construction Ltd.