Updates from the Manitoba Government on their response to COVID-19 are posted online through news releases. The most recent updates are posted here, and the page is updated throughout the day. An overview of the current situation in Manitoba is regularly updated here.
Emergency Measures Act
The Manitoba government is making additions and amendments to strengthen The Emergency Measures Act and enable provincial orders that will aid in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Penalties for violating The Emergency Measures Act would increase to a maximum of $100,000 and/or one-year imprisonment for individuals and a maximum of $1,000,000 for corporations.
More information about the amendments are available here.
Employers are urged to direct employees to use good hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes washing your hands frequently, practising good cough and sneeze hygiene, and staying home when you are sick.
Public health orders were issued on March 30th and come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 1. Please visit the State of Emergency page to see if these orders affect your business or workplace. Further details are available here.
Supports for Businesses & Not-for-Profits
Many businesses and not-for-profits in Manitoba are facing significant challenges due to COVID-19. If you’re one of them, the Manitoba Economic Support Centre is here for you. Call to learn more about provincial and federal support programs like wage subsidies, loans, rent assistance, hiring students and the new Manitoba Gap Protection Program. Dial 1-888-805-7554 today to speak with a service representative at the Manitoba Economic Support Centre.
An overview of supports and resources are available here.
On March 22, 2020, the Manitoba Government announced that April and May tax filing deadlines would be extended for businesses impacted by COVID-19. This will give small- and medium-sized businesses an extra two months to remit retail sales taxes and the Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Levy. Further details of these measures are available here.
Cash Flow Tax Relief
The province is providing the following protections for the next six months until Oct. 1: instructing Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) to not charge interest or penalties in the event that Manitobans are unable to pay at this time; supporting Workers Compensation Board (WCB) to do the same and asking WCB to extend relief from penalties for late payments; directing Manitoba Hydro and Centra Gas to not disconnect customers during these times. Other measures are included here.
Deferral of corporate and provincial income tax filing deadline
The province is deferring corporate and provincial income tax filing deadlines and payments to coincide with the current revised federal deferral of income tax to Aug. 31. More information is available here.
Health and Post-Secondary Education Levy Tax Deferral
Returns for small and medium businesses with monthly HE Levy remittances of no more than $10,000/month normally due on April 15 and May 15, will now be due June 15, 2020. More information is available here.
Manitoba Protection Plan
A 6-month (to October 1) support program that includes no interest and/or penalties, collections or service disconnections from Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas, Manitoba Public Insurance, Workers Compensation Board, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, and on provincial education taxes and school division fees. More information is available here.
RST Tax Deferral
RST returns for small and medium businesses with monthly RST remittances of no more than $10,000/month normally due on April 20 and May 20, will now be due June 22, 2020. Quarterly filers have a deferral to June 22, 2020. Details are available here.
Rent Increase Freeze
The Manitoba government announced a freeze on all rent increases set to take effect between April 1 and May 31. The Residential Tenancies Branch (RTB) and Residential Tenancies Commission have postponed all non-urgent hearings, which means tenants cannot be evicted unless there is a risk to health and safety or concerns about illegal activity. Further details are available here. Also available are FAQ for tenants and landlords.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses
The federal government reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program for small businesses will seek to provide loans and/or forgivable loans to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June.
The full announcement is available here.
In keeping with social distancing strategies outlined to Manitobans, and in consultation with key stakeholders, public health officials have advised that all in-classroom learning in Manitoba kindergarten to Grade 12 schools will be suspended indefinitely for this school year. This is being done to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba. Classes will resume as soon as public health officials advise that it is safe to do so.
A letter to parents about the decision, including further details, is available here.
Child Care for Essential Service Workers
Manitoba’s critical and essential care workers are on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. Essential services include health-care providers, emergency service providers, corrections workers, law enforcement workers, fire and paramedic workers, and direct social services and child protection workers. We will continue to create dedicated childcare options for front-line and essential services staff who need them.
Further details and resources are available here.
In recognition of the current challenges, the province will defer any increases to the Manitoba Pharmacare deductible that were scheduled to take effect April 1. The deductible will remain at 2019/20 levels throughout 2020/21 to assist Manitobans with supply limits imposed on pharmacies in response to the COVID19 pandemic. Manitobans are reminded that pharmacies have been asked to limit individuals to a one-month supply of medication. Updates are posted here.
Contact Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.
The online screening tool is now available in an interactive voice response (IVR) format. Call 1-877-308-9038. Please note it is not a replacement for Health Links-Info Santé. It is specifically for Manitobans who prefer to complete the screening tool by phone rather than online.
The tool asks callers standard screening questions for COVID-19. If needed, it directs those who may require a conversation with a health care professional to Health Links-Info Santé. People who want to self-screen can call 1-877-308-9038.
The most recent updates related to COVID-19 in Manitoba are available at this link.
Walk-in Screening Clinic
If you have not traveled outside Manitoba in the past 14 days, have not been in close contact with a confirmed case, and do not have a fever, cough or other symptoms of a respiratory illness, you do NOT need to be tested for COVID-19. Health Links-Info Santé will only advise you to go for testing if you have symptoms of a respiratory illness.
Individuals who are directed by Health Links-Info Santé to be tested for COVID-19 will be asked to visit a community screening location, which are listed here.
Visiting Hospitals and Long-Term Care Homes
Public health officials are recommending the immediate suspension of visitors in long-term care facilities across Manitoba. To protect the health of patients, staff and volunteers, visitor access at all Manitoba hospitals has been suspended. Exceptions for compassionate reasons will continue to be made on a case-by-case basis but will adhere to vigilant screening. One visitor per patient may be admitted with the approval of individual facility managers in some departments.
Statements on these policies are available here.
State of Emergency
The Manitoba government declared a province-wide state of emergency to help the government address the effects of COVID-19. The declaration enables the government to protect the health and wellbeing of Manitobans as COVID-19 develops. The chief provincial public health officer issued new public health orders that take effect on April 17, 2020 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. Details on exception to this ruling are available on the State of Emergency page.
Public Health Directives
Manitobans are strongly advised to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel. This includes limiting travel, even within Manitoba, to essential trips only. Self-isolation is recommended for the following individuals or groups for a 14-day period after departing the area they were visiting, or since their last known contact or exposure to someone that has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Additional details are available here.
Help Next Door initiative
Help Next Door MB is a network of helpers coming together as a community. If you are a volunteer ready to provide your support or someone who needs a helping hand through these difficult times, this platform can connect you.
Mental Health Supports
A digital cognitive behavioural therapy program to support the mental health of Manitobans and help address anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is now up and running. The AbilitiCBT program is an internet-based cognitive behavioural-therapy service, free of charge to all Manitobans 16 years old and over. Services are available in English and French. The program can be accessed at www.manitoba.ca/covid19.
The full announcement is available here.