On March 20, 2020, the Manitoba government declared a province-wide state of emergency under The Emergency Measures Act to protect the health and safety of all Manitobans and to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Also, the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer is issuing orders under The Public Health Act as approved by the Minister of Health Seniors and Active Living.
This measure must be triggered in order to continue to use every tool available to flatten the curve and to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on the communities and the healthcare system.
On Wednesday, April 1, 2020, all previous orders are repealed so that there is only one public health order in effect at a time. Below is an outline of the most recent order announced on March 30, 2020, to take effect the same day.
The Manitoba chief provincial public health officer issued the following order with several measures under The Public Health Act as approved by the minister of health, seniors and active living.
- Public gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people at any indoor or outdoor place or premises.
- This includes places of worship, gatherings and family events such as weddings and funerals.
- This does not apply to a facility where health care or social services are provided including child-care centres and homeless shelters.
The following measures will be in place as of 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, April 1:
- All restaurants and other commercial facilities that serve food are prohibited from serving food to customers in their premises. This prevents eat-in dining at all facilities. However, restaurants and other commercial facilities can prepare and serve food for delivery or takeout. If this takes place, the operator of the restaurant must ensure that all persons maintain the appropriate social distancing from other customers when picking up food.
- All businesses that are not listed in the schedule of critical services that accompany the order must close between April 1 and April 14. For more information on the business closures see Employment/labour standards and HR management.
Other measures announced to help during the crisis
The government has implemented some financial measures including extending the April and May filing deadlines for small- and medium-sized businesses with monthly remittances of no more than $10,000. It is estimated that this could help more than 20,000 businesses in Manitoba, the premier noted. Businesses will have up to two additional months to remit retail sales taxes and the Health and Post Secondary Education Tax Levy, commonly called the payroll tax. The minister noted the department will work with businesses regarding flexible repayment options above the $10,000 cap.
On March 27, 2020, the Manitoba government is adding a temporary exception to employment standards regulations to give employers more time to recall employees laid off as a result of COVID-19. This measure will provide flexibility to employers to recall employees once work picks up again after this difficult time period and avoid severing their employment. Read more under Employment/labour standards and HR management.
As of 12:01 a.m. on March 30, 2020, public gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people. Retail businesses and public transportation must ensure separation of one to two meters between persons. All non-essential travel is strongly not recommended. Employment standards are to be temporarily amended so that any period of layoff occurring after March 1, 2020, will not be counted toward the period after which a temporary layoff would become a permanent termination. The Government will establish five highway checkpoints and provide information in airports to inform travelers on public health measures and the requirement to self-isolate.
March 30, 2020: The Government of Manitoba introduced several new measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As of April 1 2020, public gatherings will be limited to 10 people, restaurants may only serve food for delivery and takeout, and all businesses not in the schedule of critical services must close until April 14, 2020. Further information can be found here and under Employment/labour standards and HR management.
Restaurants providing takeout and delivery service are authorized to sell liquor if they are a licensed establishment.
March 31, 2020: Manitoba suspended in classroom learning for kindergarten to Grade 12 students indefinitely for this school year. Prior to the announcement, in-person classes had only been suspended until April 10, 2020. They also revised Spring Road Restrictions to more readily allow vehicles to transport essential commodities.
On April 1, 2020, the Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen is issuing an order under The Regulated Health Professions Act to enable the registrar of the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba to waive or modify registration requirements for former registered nurses, allowing them to apply for temporary registration during the pandemic on an expedited basis. Former registrants of the college seeking information on temporary registration requirements should visit https://www.crnm.mb.ca/about/covid-19. In addition, application and registration fees will be waived for former registrants applying for temporary registration via this process. The minister noted the order will remain in place until there is no longer a serious and immediate threat to public health.
On April 2, 2020, the Manitoba government announced that beginning on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, all parents who work in critical services will be able to access available child-care spaces in any licensed facilities currently operating. This includes support staff at hospitals and clinics, grocery store staff, farmers and farmworkers, construction workers, and bank and credit union employees. Parents working in these sectors who have been unable to make other child-care arrangements will be able to work directly with licensed facilities to secure child care spaces.
On April 3, 2020, the government has announced new measures to provide immediate cash flow relief to Manitobans. These relief measures include:
- Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas and Manitoba Public Insurance have been directed not to charge interest or penalties for Manitobans who are unable to pay at this time;
- Manitoba Hydro and Centra Gas have been directed not to disconnect customers during this time;
- Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries has been instructed not to charge interest on receivables from restaurants, bars and speciality wine stores; and
- The Workers Compensation Board has been asked to extend relief from penalties for late payments.
The government is also deferring provincial income tax and corporate income tax filing deadlines to August 31, 2020 to coincide with the revised federal deferred date for income tax filing. These measures are in addition to the recent measures implemented by the government that provide a two-month deferral to small businesses that remit up to $10,000 in payroll tax or sales tax.
On April 4, 2020, the Government of Manitoba set up isolation centres for those needing additional support to self-isolate. The first centre has been set up in a Winnipeg hotel and will begin accepting individuals this weekend. This would be offered to individuals who may have been exposed or who are COVID positive and require a dedicated space where they can self-isolate.
These centres will adhere to the public health guidelines and guests will be required to self-isolate in their rooms at all times. Isolation centres will use enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices. All social and physical distancing practices will be adhered to and centres will practice zero-contact services wherever possible.
On April 8, 2020, major Manitoba 150 celebrations have been postponed.
The Government of Manitoba will continue to extend supports to all youth currently in the Child and Family Services system who turn 18 between March 20 and September 30, 2020.
On April 9, 2020, the government continued its request for help from the business community in procuring and manufacturing equipment for the province’s COVID-19 response. Specifically, the government has asked for assistance from the garment industry to source non-medical cotton gloves and gowns to be used by social service workers. More information can be found here.
The government has also introduced new measures to enforce public health orders issued in response to COVID-19. These measures include new pre-set fines and a multi-tiered enforcement approach to enforce orders. The fines currently range from $486 for individuals to $2,542 for businesses. Click here for more information regarding the added enforcement measures.
Orders and measures April 13 and 14, 2020
The chief provincial public health officer has extended public health orders until April 28. Businesses that are not included on the list of critical services must remain closed to the public until April 28. However, these businesses can:
- continue to operate where customers can order goods online or by telephone. However, customers cannot attend the businesses’ premises or property to order goods.
- continue to sell goods to customers where those goods can be picked up ‘curbside’ or delivered to customers. However, customers cannot pick up goods at businesses’ premises or on its property.
- allow staff to attend the businesses’ premises, without a limitation on the number of staff, as long as staff take measures to keep social distancing of one to two metres apart from each other.
- accept delivery of goods and may allow services, such as construction, repairs, maintenance and cleaning to occur at their premises and on their property.
The Manitoba government has also announced it will provide health-care staff paid administrative leave for the full 14-day period of asymptomatic self-isolation. Should a worker become symptomatic during self-isolation, the individual will be compensated by sick leave benefits pursuant to their collective agreement.
The Manitoba government will also be meeting with Manitoba’s public sector union leaders to discuss an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The province is seeking ways to defer non-essential spending across all of government to ensure its ability to redirect resources to front-line health services during this critical time. In the coming days and weeks ahead, the province will be exploring and discussing various options to reduce non-essential spending, with the primary focus of mitigating the impact and fallout of COVID-19.
On April 13, 2020, the province has partnered with the Pembina Trails School Division and the St. James-Assiniboia School Division to offer expanded access to InformNet online courses during the suspension of in-school classes due to COVID-19. The expansion of InformNet comes as teachers across Manitoba embrace new approaches to teaching using this and various other online and distance-learning tools developed by schools and school divisions.
The government announced a new call centre that will provide support to businesses and not-for-profits facing economic challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is designed to help businesses navigate and leverage the resources available through the provincial and federal governments. More information can be found here.
On April 13, 2020, the Manitoba government has engaged Manitoba-based business, 24-7 Intouch, to help businesses, not-for-profits and charities facing economic challenges due to COVID-19 connect with support programs. The province is in the process of working with 24-7 Intouch to establish this important service in the coming days. Strict privacy protocols, including the use of personal and business information, will be in place. It will offer bilingual service with the capacity to offer assistance in other languages spoken in Manitoba.The premier noted the centre will offer a two-stream process to identify and reach out to identified and prioritized businesses and stakeholders that have been impacted by COVID-19 to offer help, and answer incoming calls and questions. In order to protect the privacy and security of those using this service, outbound calls will not ask for confidential information as their purpose is to advise of the services available and encourage the use the inbound line.
Details such as call centre phone number and hours of operation will be available in the days ahead. Businesses are encouraged to regularly check the Manitoba government website to view an updated list of available federal and provincial supports at https://manitoba.ca/covid19/business/index.html.
April 15, 2020:The Manitoba government has announced forthcoming amendments to the Emergency Measures Act that will give the province additional order-making power to respond to public health emergencies.
These amendments will allow the government to issue:
- emergency orders such as those that would allow fixed pricing, prohibit price gouging and establish emergencies facilities;
- temporary suspension orders; and
- reporting deadline variation orders for government and government agency reporting.
Penalties for violating the Emergency Measures Act would also be increased to $100,000 and/or one year of imprisonment for individuals and $1,000,000 for corporations.
Manitoba also has adopted the New West Partnership Trade Agreement with three other western provinces, which the province expects to help create new opportunities for private-sector investment and job creation. The measures in the agreement will remove barriers to the movement of goods, services, investment and people between the provinces. For more information regarding the partnership, click here.
April 16, 2020: The Government of Manitoba launched the AbilitiCBT program, a free and confidential virtual-therapy platform to help Manitobans cope with COVID-19 anxiety. More information can be found here.
The chief provincial public health officer has updated public health orders that take effect on April 17, and will be in effect until May 1, 2020. They mandate that anyone entering Manitoba, regardless of whether it was from another country or another province must self-isolate for 14 days. In addition, travel to northern Manitoba (north of the 53rd parallel of latitude) is prohibited with some exceptions including:
- residents of northern and remote communities may continue to move within the north;
- delivery of goods and services may continue; and
- exceptions include those who travel to the north for employment, medical treatment or to facilitate child-custody agreements.
The new orders build on the current orders, and maintain the gathering size of no more than 10 people at any indoor or outdoor premises. Additional updates include:
- a clarification that businesses not listed as critical may operate, and have customers attend to pick up ordered items, providing social distancing measures are in place;
- a provision to allow farmers markets to operate, providing social distancing measures are in place;
- hotels may operate, but must close common areas such as pools, hot tubs and game rooms;
- campgrounds can provide accommodation to recreational vehicles that act as a primary residence;
- garden centres and greenhouses can operate, providing social distancing measures are in place; and
- appliance, electronic and furniture stores are excluded, and should not be open to the public, except where orders are placed remotely and orders are delivered or picked up with social distancing measures in place.
The following restrictions remain in place as they were with previous orders:
All restaurants and other commercial facilities are prohibited from serving food to customers in their premises. This prevents eat-in dining at all facilities. However, restaurants and other commercial facilities can prepare and serve food for delivery or takeout. If this takes place, the operator of the restaurant must ensure that all people maintain the appropriate social distancing from other customers when picking up food.
All businesses that are not listed in the schedule of critical services that accompanies the order must remain closed. This closure order does not prevent these businesses from operating on a remote basis. A business may accept orders on the internet or over the phone for delivery or pickup, as long as the employees are not working at the place of business. The order does not prevent employees or others from coming into the business to perform repairs, to provide security services or to take out items from the business premises if the business is going to operate on a remote basis.
Nothing in the order restricts the operations of delivery of services by the federal or provincial governments or a municipality.
Nothing in the order restricts any activities of a publicly funded agency, organization or authority that delivers or supports government operations or services including health-care services. This means the order does not affect institutions, agencies and other service providers offering health-care services such as hospitals, regional health authorities and private agencies that provide a range of health services.
On April 16, 2020, the government introduced and passed its previously announced public health emergency leave. This is a temporary unpaid job-protected leave for employees who are unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The leave applies retroactive to March 1, 2020 and can be taken for as long as is needed. For more go to the Employment/labour standards and HR management section of this page.
Orders and measures April 17 to 19, 2020
On April 19, 2020, Public health officials have expanded testing criteria to include:
- all symptomatic workers or volunteers at workplaces that have been identified as essential services; and
- any symptomatic person who lives with a health-care worker, first responder or worker in a congregate setting such as a correctional facility, shelter, long-term care or residential facility.
On April 17, 2020, the government announced $300-million in COVID-19 funding, for initiatives including the procurement of essential supplies and equipment, support for local production of gowns, scrubs and other medical equipment, and support for testing and hospital overflows. Businesses which can rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products needed by the government to combat COVID-19 are asked visit the government’s ‘a href=”https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/business/index.html”>COVID-19 portal. This new investment continues to address the needs of our front-line health-care workers and patients.
The Manitoba government has also undertaken a number of investments to provide immediate relief to Manitobans facing financial challenges by deferring provincial fees and charges, funding support for child-care services for critical service providers and expanding shelter capacity to support people affected by homelessness.
In addition, Manitoba businesses can donate unused personal protective equipment supplies in original packaging, clean and in useable condition. More information can be found at https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/supply-donations/.
On April 20, 2020, the Manitoba government announced that it has extended the provincial state of emergency for an additional 30 days, ending May 18, 2020.
On April 24, 2020, the government announced a Summer Student Recovery Plan, a new program that will provide support to employers and high school and post-secondary students (age 15 to 29) from May 1 to September 4, 2020.
On April 28. 2020, the government announced a partnership with the federal government to facilitate local food producers and farmers’ markets selling their products online. For more information on this initiative, click here.
The government also introduced four new temporary orders under the Emergency Measures Act, which will apply retroactively to March 20, 2020. Among the orders is a Trucking and Transportation Provisions Order which extends the expiry dates of certain permits, certificates or registrations until July 31, 2020, and is designed to ensure truck drivers continue the movement of essential goods and services. For more information please click here.
On April 29, 2020, the Manitoba government announced a multi-phased plan to gradually restore services, open some businesses, and increase recreational opportunities commencing May 4, 2020. Details on the plan can be found under Governments re-opening plan and workplace issues to think of.
On May 1, 2020, the Manitoba government announced that small and medium-sized businesses can apply online to receive a one-time, lump-sum payment of $6,000 through the government’s previously announced Manitoba Gap Protection Program.
The Government of Manitoba restricted individuals from working in more than one licenced personal care home.
The government also confirmed that it will maintain its funding for Manitoba municipalities. For details on the various funding initiatives and programs to provide financial relief to Manitobans and municipalities, please click here.
During the weekend of May 2 to May 3rd, the Manitoba government updated its multi-phased roadmap for restoring services to clarify inconsistencies between the roadmap and recent public health orders. Details on the plan can be found under Governments re-opening plan and workplace issues to think of.
On May 4, 2020, the Manitoba government announced that Manitobans can now access their COVID-19 test results through a secure online portal.
To raise awareness about Canadian Mental Health Week, the government also highlighted its free internet-based therapy program, AbilitiCBT, which provides learning modules and access to live 24-hour crisis counsellors. The program is available here.
On May 5, 2020, the Manitoba government announced a new $45-million program for Manitoba’s seniors, aged 65 and older. The new Seniors Economic Recovery Credit provides a one-time $200 tax credit to each recipient, which will be mailed as a cheque. The tax credit will not be counted as taxable income nor will it claw back income-tested benefits to seniors.
On May 6, 2020, the Manitoba government announced increased funding for the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative, matching funds raised by participating universities and colleges on a dollar for dollar basis.
On May 8, 2020, The government announced a new $5-million Agriculture Training Support Program to support employers in the agriculture and food supply chain industries offset costs for COVID-19 safety and training, including costs for personal protective equipment. Under the program, the government will provide grants of up to $2,000 per new employee, to a maximum of $50,000 per employer. Grants will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis. Approximately $1-million of the program’s funding will be targeted for meat processors in order to support new hire meat-cutting training. Program support is targeted to agricultural, meat processing and horticultural businesses and services on the Government of Alberta’s essential service list. Applications will be accepted via the existing Canadian Agricultural Partnership website.
On May 12, 2020, the Manitoba government announced up to $10-million in funding to support community organizations, municipalities, and provincial parks delivering Green Team projects this upcoming summer. Green Team grants are awarded to non-profit organizations and municipal governments to cover wages of 15 to 29 year olds hired to work between May and August 2020. The government expects this funding will support over 2,000 summer jobs.
On May 13, 2020, the Manitoba government announced the launch of a new online marketplace to connect Manitoba businesses with suppliers of non-medical grade personal protective equipment and other materials required for businesses as they reopen.
On May 14, 2020, the Manitoba government introduced the Additional Enforcement Personnel Regulation, which empowers certain government officials to enforce public health emergency orders and emergency health hazard orders. These include safety and health officers under The Workplace Safety and Health Act, inspectors under the Liquor Gaming and Cannabis Control Act, public health officers under The Public Health Act, park patrol officers under The Provincial Parks Act, and public health officers within the Manitoba Agriculture and Resources Development department.
The government also announced impending temporary orders extending tax deadlines, exempting operators from certain childcare licensing requirements, suspending municipal by-elections, suspending meeting provisions for condominiums, co-operatives, corporations, and credit unions, suspending in-person commission and witnessing provisions, and suspending fees for marriage licenses and commissioners under certain circumstances.
On May 15, 2020, the Manitoba government extended the provincial state of emergency for 30 days, effective May 17, 2020.
Over the weekend of May 16-17, 2020, the Manitoba government announced the extension of the fundraising deadline under the Manitoba Heritage Trust Program.
The government also announced a Manitoba Works Capital Incentive program. The program provides incremental education property tax rebates if businesses meet certain eligibility criteria.
On May 19, 2020, the Manitoba government introduced a new texting option to the provincial toll-free crisis line available for individuals affected by family and intimate partner violence.
On May 20, 2020, the Manitoba government announced an additional $10-million in grants to support community development projects under its Building Sustainable Communities program. These grants are available to eligible non-profit and charitable organizations, municipalities, and Northern Affairs community councils.
On May 22, 2020, the Manitoba government also announced that big-game utilization requirements are waived for 2020 and the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association is now overseeing the Guide License Program.
On May 26, 2020, the Manitoba government released a joint statement with the premiers of the Yukon and British Columbia in support of the federal government’s May 25, 2020 announcement regarding a paid sick leave program.
The Manitoba government also announced that it will provide monthly disability benefits recipients under the Employment and Income Assistance program with a one-time support payment of $200 in June 2020.
On May 28, 2020. the Manitoba government announced the launch of a web portal, called Student Jobs MB, matching students with employers. The portal is available to private-sector employers, not-for-profit organizations, and governments. The Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program supports employers in hiring high school and post-secondary students by making $120 million available for an hourly $7 wage subsidy, up to a maximum of $5,000 per student. The program is open to students aged 15 to 29, with an employment period from May 1 to September 4, 2020. Employers can be subsidized to hire up to five students.
On June 2, 2020, the Manitoba government announced eligibility criteria for the Manitoba Risk Recognition Program. The Program provides a one-time payment to low-income, essential, and front-line workers who continued to work and/or provide services during the pandemic. Workers enrolled in the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program are not eligible. Eligible employees may apply starting on June 3, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. C.D.T.
On June 3, 2020, the Manitoba government announced increased investment in the Canada-Manitoba Job Grant program. The program provides grants to employers for employee training costs of up to $10,000 per employee, to a maximum employer grant of $100,000. Employers are expected to cover a minimum of one-third of grant-eligible training costs. Eligible training costs include tuition fees, cost of textbook, software, and other materials, exam fees, or travel costs for training individuals in remote locations. The deadline to apply for the 2020-21 program is July 3, 2020.
On June 12, 2020, As part of Manitoba Access Awareness Week, the government is hosting a free webinar addressing workplace accessibility during COVID-19, including employee safety, new accessibility requirements, and accessing goods and services. Organizations can register for the webinar here
On June 15, 2020, the government announced that the province-wide state of emergency has been extended for an additional 30 days as of June 15, 2020.
On June 16, 2020, that Manitoba government announced that based on additional input from stakeholders, the Manitoba government is expanding its $120-million Risk Recognition program to include more front-line workers who were exposed to added risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The payment is available to part-time and full-time employees in various public- and private-sector positions that include the areas of health care, social services, justice, transportation, food and beverage, and essential retail. Essential workers must have worked a minimum 200 cumulative hours (or would have worked that amount but were required to self-isolate under public health orders) from March 20 to May 29.
A majority of stakeholders voted to increase the qualifying threshold to a total pre-tax employment income of less than $5,000 per month, or $12,500 total during the 2.5-month eligibility period, and exclude overtime from the total gross income calculation.
The program has also been expanded to include the following positions:
- hotel workers (reception, cleaners, maintenance, kitchen staff, servers); and
- Business Improvement Zone staff (patrol, graffiti removal, street cleaners, distributors of COVID-19-related education material and Personal Protective Equipment).
The minister is encouraging all eligible workers to apply for the program and view the full list of positions at https://manitoba.ca/covid19/infomanitobans/mrrp.html.
The province has extended the application deadline until Monday, June 29 at noon. It will issue payment via direct deposit once it verifies applications and plans to fully distribute the $120-million fund. As the fund will be divided equally between all successful applicants, the number of program participants will determine individual payments.
On June 18, 2020, the Manitoba government announced the Back to Work this Summer program to provide eligible employers with funding to hire or rehire up to five employees after June 18, 2020. The program will reimburse 50% of the total wages paid to employees from June 18 to August 30, 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000 per worker and $25,000 per business. The application process opens next week. Charities, not-for-profit organizations, and public-sector employers are not eligible.
On June 26, 2020, the Manitoba government new public health orders were issued. These orders:
- remove restrictions on travel to northern Manitoba and remote communities;
- remove the requirement for people coming to Manitoba to work on film productions to self-isolate for 14 days before entering the province;
- clarify the only sports teams exempt from self-isolation requirements are professional sports teams from Manitoba and remove the requirement for Manitoba sports teams to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to Manitoba; and
- permit individuals who are self-isolating under federal or provincial health orders to visit a family member or friend who has a life-threatening disease in a health-care facility, if the facility permits them to do so and they are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
To view the orders, go to www.manitoba.ca/covid19/soe.html. In addition, anyone travelling to northern Manitoba should continue to respect restrictions that have been put in place by local communities and First Nations.
The government also announced a temporary ban on commercial evictions. The ban will apply if landlords and tenants are eligible for the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program but have not applied for the program. Applications for the Manitoba Job Restart Program are now available, through and until July 31, 2020.
On July 14, 2020, the Manitoba government announced that it will extend the provincewide state of emergency under The Emergency Measures Act to continue to protect the health and safety of all Manitobans and reduce the spread of COVID-19. The extension takes effect at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14 for a period of 30 days. The state of emergency was first declared on March 20. It was further extended on April 18, May 17 and June 15. For additional information and to view the state of emergency and public health orders, visit www.manitoba.ca/covid19/soe.html.
On July 14, 2020, the Manitoba government announced that the provincial State of Emergency has been extended for an additional 30 days.
For information on Manitoba’s reopening plan and measures see Governments re-opening plan and workplace issues to think of.