COVID-19 Updates

CIQS is monitoring the fluid situation around COVID-19 closely as it relates to the Canadian marketplace and our industry. We have distributed regular updates to our members and stakeholders since the beginning of the pandemic and will continue to do so for its duration. This webpage is an additional resource on COVID-19 matters. Check back often for updates.

COVID-19 UPDATES

Federal Traveling Restrictions

The federal government urges Canadians not to travel at this time and has implemented stricter restrictions for all who arrive in Canada (residents and visitors) starting at 11:59pm on February 21, 2021.

Arrive by land – the border between the USA and Canada is closed to non-essential travel until March 21, 2021.

Everyone arriving by land will be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the land border port of entry. By March 4 there will be 16 testing sites across Canada, with the following five opening on February 21:

  • Douglas, BC | Coutts, AB | Queenston-Lewiston Bridge (Niagara-on-the-Lake), ON | St. Bernard de Lacolle (Hwy 15), QC | St. Stephen 3rd Bridge, NB

By March 4, 2021, the following ports of entry will also have testing sites available:

  • Ambassador Bridge (Windsor), ON | Blue Water Bridge (Point Edward), ON | Emerson West Lynne, NB | Peace Bridge (Fort Erie), ON | Huntingdon, BC | 1000 Island Bridge (Lansdowne), ON | Pacific Hwy, BC | Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls), ON | St. Armand, QC | Stanstead (Route 55), QC | Windsor-Detroit tunnel, ON

Arrive by air

Starting on February 21, 2021, international travelers (residents and visitors) arriving in Canada are required to take a COVID-19 test prior to leaving the airport. They will then be transported to the government approved hotel for a 3-day quarantine before leaving to complete their 14-day quarantine at their destination. All travelers will receive a COVID-19 test kit and instructions before leaving the airport for the second COVID-19 test which they must take towards the end of the 14-day quarantine.

Prior to boarding their flight to Canada, all travelers must provide proof of the following:

  • Negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of boarding the flight
  • Proof of a pre-paid reservation for three nights to one of the government-approved quarantine hotels

Travelers will be required to pay for the COVID-19 test in the country they are departing (if there is a cost), the three-night stay at the quarantine hotel upon arrival as well as all food, security, transportation, infection prevention and control measures for those three days.

For detailed information about all travel, quarantine and border restrictions, click here.


British Columbia

Dr. Réka Gustafson, BC’s deputy provincial health officer and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, reported in a joint statement on February 19, 2021 that there were currently 4,486 active cases in the province of which 217 were hospitalized (16 in ICU). The first dose of the vaccine has been administered to 192,942 people, of which 36,923 have received the second dose.

An order by the PHO that came into effect in November 2020 prohibiting gatherings and events remains in place until further notice. This order states that no social gatherings are allowed in private residences, cultural events are prohibited, religious services may only continue virtually and funerals/weddings/baptisms can be held with no more than 10 people in attendance, including the officiant (receptions are prohibited). The mask mandate remains in effect. Learn more about the BC restrictions here.

Alberta

The provincial state of public health emergency remains in effect and Public Health has devised a new pathway to reopening safely based on hospitalization benchmarks. On March 1, 2021, the province moved to Step 2, easing restrictions on restaurants, indoor fitness and children’s sports and performance activities. All indoor social gatherings continue to be prohibited, but a maximum of 10 individuals may gather outdoors.

The mask mandate remains unchanged, with masks being required inside all public spaces, workplaces and places of worship. Learn more about all current provincial restrictions here.

Saskatchewan

The current public health order has been extended to March 19, 2021. This order limits social indoor gatherings to immediate household members only and outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 10 individuals practicing physical distancing. Alcohol may not be sold past 10:00pm at licensed establishments and they may not seat more than four people per table.

All gaming venues are closed and entertainment venues (such as movie theatres and arenas) are restricted to 30 people. Retailers may operate at 50 per cent capacity; large box stores are capped at 25 per cent. All team sports, games, competitions, etc are suspended, but sports and dance for those 18 and under may continue if they follow strict health restrictions.

Masks must be worn while inside public places province wide. The mask mandate includes indoor fitness activities (swimming excluded). View the Gym and Fitness Facilities Guidelines here.

The province is rolling out the vaccine in three phases and is currently operating under Phase 1 which is expected to last through March 2021. This phase focuses mainly on health care workers, the elderly and those who are high-risk. Phase 2 opens it up to the general population starting in April 2021.

Manitoba

Manitoba remains in the CRITICAL provincial response level, with changes that went into effect of February 12, 2021 and will remain until March 5, 2021. Some of these changes include:

  • Restaurants and licensed establishments may reopen at 25 per cent capacity; groups can only be made up of those from within the same household
  • Outdoor sports may resume, and gyms and fitness facilities may reopen, with restrictions
  • Religious services may resume at a maximum of 50 people or 10 per cent of the regular capacity, whichever is lower
  • Museums, galleries, and personal services (massage, tattoo parlours, spas) may open at 25 per cent capacity
  • The film industry may resume with proper safety measures in place

Everyone entering Manitoba (residents and visitors) from another country or province must self-isolate for 14 days. Travellers are advised to take one COVID-19 test the day they arrive and a second test after seven days. Click here for a list of exemptions to the self-isolation mandate.

As at February 20, 2021, 2.3 per cent (59,815) Manitobans have been vaccinated. Currently the vaccine is available only to those who meet specific criteria, such as individuals who handle COVID-19 specimens in a laboratory, health care workers in long-term facilities, some first responders and a select group of community service workers. Click here for the complete list.

Ontario

The Stay-at-Home order was lifted on February 16th for most of Ontario. As of March 4, Toronto, Peel Region, North Bay Parry Sound District remain in Stay-at-Home and Simcoe Muskoka District is back in lockdown. The rest of the Ontario health units have reverted back to the colour-coded framework. For details about your health unit, click here. Each health unit will remain at their level (grey, red, orange, yellow or green) for two weeks after which time they will be reassessed to determine if they will stay at that level or be moved to a different one.

The officials in Toronto and Peel Region asked to remain under strict lockdown measures, whereas the officials from York region presented a compelling case to move that region to the red zone. (Source: CP24.com) Toronto, Peel Region and North Bay Parry Sound District remain in lockdown until at least March 8, 2021. York Region will move to the red zone starting the week of February 22, 2021.

“While the trends in public health indicators are heading in the right direction, we still have work to do, “ said Dr. David Williams, chief medical officer of health. “Everyone is strongly advised to continue staying at home, avoid social gatherings, only travel between regions for essential purposes, and limit close contact to your household or those you live with.” (Source: Government of Ontario news release)

As of February 19, 2021, 5000,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered to Phase One eligible individuals which was expanded to include those 80 years and older. The government is also working with public health units to prepare for the launch of Phase 2. “I want to assure people of this great province that we are ready to get vaccines into as many arms as possible, we simply need the supply,” said Premier Ford at a new conference on February 19th.

Quebec

The majority of the province of Quebec is at Level 3 – Alert (orange), with the exception of nine regions which are at Level 4 – Maximum Alert (red). Click here for a map showing the alert level of every region in the province.

There is currently a curfew in place of 9:30pm – 5:00am in the orange zones and 8:00pm – 5:00am in the red zones. During these times, no one is allowed to leave their homes except for specific exemptions such as medical visits, trips to the pharmacy or work. Anyone stopped by the police without a valid reason to be out during curfew could be fined between $1000 and $6000. Youth 14 years and older can get fined $500. Those who travel to and from work during curfew are recommended to ask their employer to complete the “Employer Attestation Concerning Travel During the Curfew Decreed” which is supplied by the Quebec government.

Travel between regions and cities is not recommended and social gatherings in private homes (indoor and outdoor) are prohibited. Effective February 26, 2021, a single person (and their children if applicable) may form a bubble with one other household. Organized activities in a public space are not allowed with the exception of funerals (maximum of 25 people) and demonstrations. For details about the restrictions in each Alert level, click on Level 3 or Level 4.

As of February 21, 2021, 3.5 per cent of 344,900 individuals have been vaccinated. Information on the province of Quebec’s vaccination program can be found here.

New Brunswick

The province is still under a state of emergency which was last renewed on February 12, 2021, with every zone in the province in the orange level. Under the orange level, the bubble expands to allow contact with up to 10 people from outside the household. Non-urgent medical procedures and elective surgeries are allowed and professional services such as spas and hair salons are permitted to open. Daycares and K-12 are allowed to operate in-person classes, but it is recommended that high-risk students continue with online learning. For details regarding what is allowed in the orange level, click here.

Masks continue to be mandatory inside all public spaces, such as stores, malls, restaurants, places of worship, common areas in public buildings and on public transport. They are also required at organized indoor event spaces such as funerals and weddings. They must be worn in public places outdoors if proper distancing can’t be maintained.

Health care workers, long term care staff and residents, individuals over 85 and First Nations adults have started receiving vaccinations. The eligibility will expand to other groups come April-May, but supply is expected to be limited until mid-to-late summer 2021. To learn more about New Brunswick’s vaccination program, click here.

Nova Scotia

Stricter restrictions and protective measures were implemented for Halifax, Hants and Lunenburg County on February 27 and will last until March 26, 2021. Starting March 1, 2021, rotational workers without symptoms must get tested for COVID-19 during their modified self-isolation as do specialized workers. Click here for details.

Retail stores are allowed to operate at 75 per cent capacity in the rest of the province as of February 8th. Gyms and yoga studios may also operate at 75 per cent capacity and all participants of high intensity activities must maintain a minimum distance of 9 feet.

Businesses such as arts and culture events, sports, festivals, and faith gatherings can start hosting in-person events and activities. Spectator audience members are permitted if they stay in the designated viewing space.

Travel within the Atlantic travel bubble (NS and PEI) is permitted without the need to quarantine as of February 10. Those entering from outside the bubble must still self-isolate. For more details, click here.

Small weekly shipments of the vaccine will be arriving in Nova Scotia until the end of March 2021, with an increased supply expected to start in April. The vaccine rollout is being done in three stages and everyone not eligible in stage one or two will receive the vaccine in stage three based on age. Click here for further details.

Prince Edward Island

As of February 16th, non-PEI residents, including those from other provinces within Atlantic Canada, must apply for pre-travel approval and must self-isolate for 14 days. Residents are exempt from applying for approval before entering the province but still need to self-isolate.

Stricter (Circuit breaker) restrictions came into effect on March 4 and will remain until March 14, 2021. These restrictions replace all existing public health restrictions. Read more about the circuit breaker measures here.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador are currently at Alert Level 4, except for Avalon Peninsuls which remain at Alert Level 5 and everyone there is asked to stay home as much as possible. All social gatherings are prohibited with the exception of a single household joining one other household to form a social bubble. Funerals, burials, weddings, and faith-based gatherings may be held but are capped at ten people in attendance, including the officiant.

Non-essential retail stores are closed to in-person service, movie theatres and personal service businesses (spas, tattoo parlours, etc) are allowed to open as long as they follow COVID-19 protocols and retail stores may open at 50 per cent capacity. Restaurants remain open for delivery, take-out or drive-through only. For a complete list of Level 4 restrictions, click here.

The province is rolling out the vaccines in three phases, with the first phase focusing on health care workers at high risk of exposure, those of advanced age, seniors in congregate living setting and adults in indigenous communities. It is expected that everyone who wants a vaccine will have one by fall of 2021. Click here for further details.

Northwest Territories

NWT remains in Phase 2 of their four-phase reopening plan. Social circles are allowed with three options:

  • Build your “Fave Five” and only gather socially with those five people
  • Each person in the household picks one person to allow as a guest in their home
  • Two households create a social bubble

Private social gatherings are allowed up to 10 people. Organized events can be held for 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. Travelers entering NWT must produce a self-isolation plan that follows strict guidelines as outlined here.

As of February 15, 2021, NWT has vaccinated 13,578 people with the first dose, of which 579 have received the second dose. A rollout chart by community is available here.

Nunavut

As of March 1, changes were made to the public safety health measures for Baffin, Kitikmeot, Chesterfield Inlet, Baker Lake, Coral Harbury, Naujaat, Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove. Indoor gatherings are allowed for 15 people plus those in the household, while outdoor gatherings can host up to 100 people.

Schools are open at full capacity and daycares can open with enhanced cleaning measures. Masks are recommended but not mandated. Learn more here.

Arviat’s health measures are stricter, as announced on January 27, 2021. These measures restrict travel to the area with some exemptions, such as medical evacuation flights, flight layovers of less than 90 minutes, flight crews and hunters.

Outdoor gatherings of more than five people are prohibited, as are events at community halls and conference centres. Social gatherings inside private homes are restricted to immediate household and in emergency, an additional five people. Non-essential businesses are closed, restaurants are open for delivery and take-out only and masks are mandatory. Click here for details.

Nunavut is expected to have 75 per cent of its residents over the age of 18 vaccinated by the end of March 2021. More details about the vaccine program available here.

Yukon

The Yukon government issued an update to their safety measures on February 22, 2021. Everyone in the Yukon is asked to adhere to the Safe 6:

  • Keep you distance
  • Keep you hands clean
  • Feel sick? Stay home
  • Avoid crowds
  • Travel (within the territory) with respect
  • Self-isolate if necessary

The mask mandate of December 1, 2020, stating that masks must be worn inside all public spaces throughout the territory remains in place.

Yukon is expected to receive enough doses to vaccinate 75 per cent of the adult population by the end of March 2021 and there should be enough supply to vaccinate every adult resident who wants it. Learn more about the vaccine rollout program here.


Emergency Measures Tracker

The Canadian law firm, McCarthy Tétrault, has created an emergency measures tracker that lists timely updates on responses and emergency measures implemented by governments and jurisdictions across Canada.

  • Click here for a map showing the current number of COVID-19 cases across Canada, by province/territory.
  • COVID-19 Fact Sheets, including printable infographics – click here.

There is currently a global travel advisory in effect due to COVID-19. Canadians are advised to avoid:

  • Non-essential travel outside Canada, and
  • All cruise ship travel

All international flight arrivals are redirected to one of four airports:

  • Calgary International Airport
  • Vancouver International Airport
  • Toronto’s Pearson International Airport
  • Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s International Airport

Click here to further information.

Click here for the latest information on legislative and other measures adopted by the Government of Canada to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on Canadians.

The main symptoms of COVID-19 include Cough, Fever and Difficulty Breathing. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear and recent evidence has shown that even those who have not yet developed, or never develop, symptoms can transmit the virus. It is therefore important to follow these preventive measures:

  • Stay home unless you have to go to work
  • Avoid unnecessary trips within your community (exception: going to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor)
  • Do not gather in groups (refer to your province/territory/municipality for local regulations)
  • Always maintain a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others (exception: those with whom you live – except if they are sick. They should then self-isolate in a room/area of the house until they are well)

You may go for a walk if: (refer to your province/territory/municipality for local rules)

  • You are well
  • Have not tested positive for COVID-19
  • Have not travelled outside Canada (includes USA) in the last 14 days
  • Are not in quarantine or self-isolation

Learn about the state of emergency mandates and other COVID-19 measures in your province or territory:


CIQS Communications

CIQS office now open with limited staff

Federal Government Response to COVID-19

The Federal government has implemented a variety of programs meant to help Canadian workers and businesses under the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. Below is a sample of the support programs available. For further details and the complete list, click here.

Support for Business

  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) supports employers affected by COVID-19 to help them maintain their staff. The subsidy covers up to $847 per week of an employees salary for companies that saw a gross revenue loss of at least 15% in March and 30% in April and May. Calculate your subsidy amount here. Applications open April 27, 2020.
  • The Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy allows employers to reduce the payroll deductions to CRA by 10% for three months.
  • Work-Sharing Programs will be extended to a maximum 76 weeks from 38 weeks for employees that are eligible for EI and that have agreed to reduce their hours worked due to reasons beyond an employer’s control, such as the current COVID-19 social distancing measures.
  • The Canada Summer Jobs Program temporary changes make it possible for private and public sector employers to receive up to 100% of the provincial/territorial minimum wage, hire part-time staff, and extend the work end-date to February 28, 2021.
  • The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is a collaboration between the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and the Expert Development Canada (EDC) to work with private lenders to provide operating cash and cash flow loans to Small and Medium Enterprises. SMEs can apply now through financial institutions or credit unions.
  • The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides small businesses and NPO’s with interest-free loans of up to $40,000 towards operating costs. To apply, the company must have had payroll costs of between $20,000 and $1.5 million in 2019. Applications can be completed via the company’s bank or credit union.
  • Businesses are allowed to defer income tax payments that are owed between March 15 and September 2020 until after August 31, 2020 without interest or penalties.
  • Businesses and self-employed persons may defer paying GST/HST and customs dues owing on imports until June 30, 2020.
  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) offers a $2,000 taxable benefit every four weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible individuals who have lost their jobs, or makes no more than $1000 per month, due to COVID-19. Learn more about CERB here.
  • Programs were implemented to support financial stability, such as lowering interest rates, lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25%, offering temporary relief for federally regulated pension plan sponsors and launching an Insured Mortgage Purchasing Program.

Support for Individuals

  • Recipients of the Canada Child Benefit will see an increase of $300 per child for 2019-2020.
  • The income tax filing due date for individuals has been deferred to June 1, 2020 with payments of amounts owing deferred to after August 31, 2020 without penalties or interest accrued.
  • Mortgage Payment Deferrals are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis by banks to find solutions for homeowners in need to help them manage their monthly mortgage payments.
  • The Federal portion of student loan repayments and interest is automatically suspended until September 30, 2020.