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Manitoba: COVID-19 relief measures for your business

We know that this is a difficult time, full of uncertainty. The information you need to run your business changes rapidly, and it can be hard to keep track and make sense of it all.  

In order to relieve some of the pressure on small businesses such as yours, we are gathering all the information you need about government services and supports in Manitoba and putting it in this one location. We will continue working with governments to ensure additional relief measures become available for your business as the situation evolves.

Please check back regularly. We will update this page as more information becomes available. 

 

April 29: Manitoba Government announces Restoring Safe Services Plan

Do you have questions about how to safely get back to business as Manitoba’s economy reopens?

As the province has started restrictions and reopening the economy, CFIB has put together tools and resources to help you get back to business and keep your staff and customers safe:

 

Manitoba will begin a careful, multi-phased effort next week to gradually restore services, open some businesses and increase recreational opportunities while maintaining social distancing advice. Size restrictions of public and private gatherings of no more than 10 people will remain in place. Everyone is expected to continue to follow social distancing rules at all times and to stay home if they are sick. Travel restrictions will remain in place such as avoiding all non-essential travel outside of Manitoba, and requirements for self-isolation for 14 days following travel will continue.

 

May 20 update: As of Friday, May 22 public health orders will be modified to increase the limit on gathering size to no more than 25 people for indoor premises and 50 for outdoor areas, providing social distancing measures are in place.

 

Restoring Services (Phase One) - Beginning May 4
Critical public health measures and current travel restrictions will remain. This includes mandatory self-isolation upon one's return to Manitoba and limits on travel to the north. Priority elective surgeries have been restarted, diagnostics screening will resume and some non-essential businesses will be reopened:

  • schools will remain closed
  • non-urgent surgery and diagnostic procedures restored
  • therapeutic and health care services restored
  • retail businesses reopen
  • restaurants - patio/walk-up services restored
  • hairstylists and barbers reopen
  • museums, galleries and libraries reopen
  • outdoor recreation and campgrounds reopen

If results during or at the end of phase one or any future phases are not favourable, the province will not proceed with further easing of secondary public health measures and may reintroduce others. If disease activity remains low, the government will give serious consideration in mid-May to reducing the restrictions on group size.

Additional information on Restoring Services (Phase One)

 

Restoring Services (Phase Two) - June 1

Based on feedback from Manitobans and current public health data, the Manitoba government finalized the draft Phase Two plan and will implement measures effective June 1 to continue safely restoring services and opening additional businesses while ensuring physical distancing.

The plan for Phase Two was revised from the original draft document, released May 21, based on input from the public and businesses, as well as additional input from public health officials. Changes include:

  • The reopening of arts and cultural activities, such as dance, art and theatre                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  • clarifications on the opening of bars, beverage rooms, brew pubs, micro-brewers and distilleries to allow sites that do not serve food to open, as well as updated guidance from public health that all patrons must be seated at tables and stand-up service is not allowed; and
    detailed public health guidelines for film productions.

 
A number of measures initially outlined in the draft plan for Phase Two can resume effective June 1 including:

  • increasing child-care centre occupancy to up to 24 children plus staffing;
  • increasing day camp group sizes to 24;
  • resuming sports, arts and cultural activities for children and adults;
  • lifting occupancy limits at outdoor recreation facilities and golf courses outdoors, as long as physical distancing can be maintained and allowing limited access to indoor spaces;
  • allowing direct travel to northern parks, campgrounds, cabins, lodges and resorts while ensuring physical distancing;
  • allowing public/private swimming pools, spas, fitness clubs, gyms and community/service centres to reopen with some limitations;
  • reopening manicurists and pedicurists, tattoo parlours, estheticians, cosmetologists, electrologists and tanning parlours at 50 per cent capacity;
  • allowing restaurants to reopen indoor spaces at 50 per cent capacity and continue to offer patio services at that capacity level; and
  • allowing bars, beverage rooms, micro-brewers and similar businesses to operate patio service at 50 per cent of site capacity and to reopen indoor spaces at 50 per cent capacity.

 
No changes will be made to the requirements for reopening museums, galleries and libraries, and parks, campgrounds yurts and vacation cabins.

 

Other changes that came into effect on May 22 included increasing gathering sizes to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
 
Detailed information on the plan for Phase Two of service restoration and steps people can take to reduce their risk and workplace guidance for businesses can be found at www.manitoba.ca/restoringsafeservices.

 

Restoring Safe Services  (Phase Three): No sooner than June 21

Subsequent to Phase Two, additional reopening steps will be considered. New phases will be considered and, if supported by evidence, implemented in three-to-four week intervals, ensuring adequate time between phases is provided to monitor cases and ensure easing and further restrictions are able to respond to the evidence of viral transmission. As the situation evolves, Manitoba public health officials will make decisions based on evidence at the time.

Based on data, the following changes may be made in subsequent phases:

  • Relax occupancy limits of 50 per cent of normal business levels or one person per 10 square metres, for retail services, therapeutic or health care businesses and hair stylists/barbers.
  • Fully re-open bars, beverage rooms, micro-brewers and similar businesses.
  • Re-open movie theaters, casinos, bingo halls and indoor recreational facilities, with capacity limitations.
  • Amusement parks and similar outdoor recreation businesses.
  • Other similar businesses with capacity limitations.

Restoring Safe Services - Future Phases

  • Large Gatherings/Events and Performing Arts Venues
  • There will be no large gatherings or events until at least September 2020. As the situation evolves, Manitoba public health officials will make decisions based on evidence at the time.
  • Overnight Camps
  • No overnight camps will be permitted in the foreseeable future, as it may be difficult to maintain public health requirements for ongoing physical distancing.

 

To review the Manitoba Government's full "Restoring Safe Service Plan", please download this PDF.

 

Do you have any questions or concerns about the plan to reopen Manitoba's economy? Please call CFIB at 1-888-234-2232 or email us at [email protected]

Find non-medical PPE for your business

The Manitoba government has partnered with a number of business groups to launch an online marketplace to connect Manitoba businesses with non-medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE) and other materials needed for businesses to operate.

If you would like to access the online marketplace to purchase PPE for your business, please visit: http://www.b2bmanitoba.ca/ 

Note: you will need to created a free account to access the online marketplace, or access it via your Gmail account or your Facebook account.

Closures

Consult our guide to learn which businesses are currently closed in Manitoba.

Manitoba Government declares State of Emergency

The Manitoba government has declared a province-wide state of emergency under The Emergency Measures Act to protect the health and safety of all Manitobans and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Manitoba Government restricts operations of non-critical businesses in new public health order (March 30):

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. The following measures will be in place as of Wednesday, April 1:

  • 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. This remains in effect at this time under the previous health order issued on March 27, and will continue when this order comes into effect on 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 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 close between April 1 and April 14.

  • 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.
  • All businesses listed in the schedule of critical services that accompanies the order may continue to operate. If these business allow members of the public to attend the place of business, the operator of the business must put in place measures to ensure that appropriate social distancing rules are followed.

For more information about the State of Emergency, please see the Manitoba Government’s news release: Manitoba Government restricts operations of non-critical businesses in new public health order

Supports for businesses

May 1, 2020: Province opens online intake for the Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP)

The provincial government’s online portal to facilitate business applications to the Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP) is now live, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.

The premier announced the $120-million MGPP last week which provides an interest-free, forgivable $6,000 loan to small and medium-sized businesses in Manitoba that have experienced hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health orders. Loans are available to businesses that fail to qualify for the various federal government assistance programs and wage subsidies created because of COVID-19.

Eligible businesses will receive a one-time, lump-sum payment of $6,000, electronically deposited into their business bank account.

Permanent, Manitoba-based businesses that were operational in the province on March 20 (the date the Manitoba government declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19) are eligible to apply if they temporarily ceased or curtailed operations as a result of a COVID-19 public health order, which harmed their business in Manitoba. Businesses must not have received federal government COVID-19 grant funding support, and do not intend to apply for and receive previously announced federal government COVID-19 non-repayable funding support.

 

Eligible businesses are now able to submit online applications forms at https://manitoba.ca/covid19/business/mgpp.html.

 

To apply online, applicants must have:
•    a valid Manitoba Business Number;
•    a Companies Office registry number;
•    good standing with the Companies Office;
•    Manitoba Workers Compensation Board and Manitoba Retail Sales Tax account numbers, if applicable;
•    the sole proprietor’s social insurance number (SIN) as well as one other partner’s SIN (if the business is a partnership);
•    business email address; and
•    business bank account information for purposes of depositing the payment.

 

The full form and list of eligibility criteria is available online. Individuals that require assistance in completing the online form can contact the Manitoba Economic Assistance Office at 1-888-805-7554.
 
The province’s goal is to provide a $6,000 deposit to eligible businesses within a few days of applying online.

The application deadline for MGPP is July 31.

 

April 28: Manitoba Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program

Program Overview

The Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program promotes the hiring of high school and post-secondary students who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides wage subsidies to employers from the private and not-for-profit sectors to employ students aged 15 to 29. In addition to traditional summer jobs, students can help organizations and businesses adapt their workplaces and public spaces to the public health requirements of COVID-19.

How to submit your application

You can submit an application online on the Manitoba Government's website here.

When submitting your application, you will be required to verify that the information you have provided in the application is correct and complete.

You should receive confirmation that your application has been processed within 10 business days. For the first two weeks of the program, priority will be given to employers who do not qualify for the various federal government assistance programs.

 
Eligible employers

  • Open to all private sector and non-profit employers operating in Manitoba.
  • Public sector employers including public heath, educational institutions, and municipal/provincial/federal governments and agencies and political parties are not eligible.

 

Financial support

  • Employers are eligible to receive a reimbursement of $7 per hour up to a maximum of $5,000 per student employed between May 1 and September 4, 2020.
  • Employers can be subsidized to hire up to five students.
  • Payment will be made as a lump sum at the end of the employment period, upon proof of payment of student wages.
  • Employers cannot receive a wage subsidy for any positions that are already being subsidized by another government program. However, employers receiving government wage subsidizes to hire some students can apply to the Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program to hire additional/new students.

 

April 3, 2020: The Manitoba Government announced immediate relief to Manitobans facing financial challenges by deferring a number of provincial fees and charges

As part of the Manitoba Protection Plan, 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;
  • instructing MPI to relax ordinary practices on policy renewals and collections;
  • instructing Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries not to charge interest on receivables from restaurants, bars and specialty wine stores;
  • 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; and
  • working with municipal partners to ensure municipalities do not charge interest on provincial education taxes and school division fees and the province is encouraging municipalities to do the same with respect to their own taxes and will start discussions to support implementation.

The government is also deferring provincial income tax and corporate income tax filing deadlines and payments to coincide with the current revised federal deferral of income tax to Aug. 31 and has indicated it would be willing to extend these deferrals until Oct. 1, should the federal government agree. 

 

March 22, 2020: Manitoba Government extend tax payment filing deadlines for business

The province is extending the April and May filing deadlines for small and medium-sized businesses with monthly remittances of no more than $10,000. Businesses will have up to two additional months to remit retail sales taxes and the payroll tax.

This extension gives small and medium businesses a two month breather to deal with COVID-19.

The Ministry of Finance will also work with businesses regarding flexible repayment options above the $10,000 cap.

Retail sales tax (RST) returns for small and medium-sized businesses with monthly RST remittances of no more than $10,000 per month that would normally be due on April 20th and May 20th will now be due on June 20, 2020.

Businesses that file on a quarterly basis that have a due date of April 20, 2020 will now have the due date extended to June 22, 2020.

Businesses that qualify for the above filing extension that were not able to file and remit their February sales tax return by the March 20th due date will not be assessed a late filing penalty and interest will not be applied until after June 22, 2020.

Interest will continue to apply on all outstanding tax debts prior to the March remittance deadlines.
Businesses will still receive paper returns in the mail or web notice reminders by email for return periods March and April.

For further information, please see the Manitoba Government’s Taxation Bulletin Notice HE 20-03.

 

Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Levy (also known as HE Levy) returns for small and medium businesses with monthly HE Levy remittances of no more than $10,000 per month that would normally be due on April 15th and May 15th will now be due on June 15, 2020.

Businesses that qualify for the above filing extension that were not able to file and remit their February HE Levy tax return by the March 16th due date will not be assessed a late filing penalty and interest will not be applied until after June 15, 2020.

Interest will continue to apply on all outstanding tax debts established prior to the March remittance deadlines.

Businesses will still receive paper returns in the mail or web notice reminders by email for return periods March and April.

For further information, please the Manitoba Government’s Taxation Bulletin Notice 20-01

 

Manitoba Government announces temporary exception to Employment Standards layoff rules during the COVID-19 pandemic:

The Manitoba Government has added a temporary exception to employment standards regulations to give employers more time to recall employees laid off as a result of COVID-19. Under current employment standards legislation, employees who have been laid off for eight or more weeks in a 16-week period are deemed to have been terminated and are entitled to wages in lieu of notice.

After consulting and receiving the support of the Labour Management Review Committee, which includes representatives of both employers and labour organizations, the province is making temporary amendments that would ensure 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.

This measure is temporary and specific to situations where employees will eventually be rehired once the COVID-19 crisis has subsided and economic activity picks up again.

The province will suspend the exception when the province begins to recover economically.

For more information, please see Employment Standards' Backgrounder: COVID-19 - Temporary Amendments to Termination of Employment Regulations

WCB’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Given the economic uncertainties, businesses may be challenged with cash flow and require temporary relief from their WCB payment obligations. In response, the WCB of Manitoba will:

  • Defer premium payments until the end of May.
  • Late payment penalties will be waived until further notice.
  • Extend the payroll reporting deadline without penalties until the end of May.
  • Ensure that coverage remains active for accounts that choose to defer. payments until the end of May. Clearances will remain in good standing.

Note: These dates may change as we continue to assess the situation.

Account registration and assessments continue

The WCB offices are temporarily closed to the public and we have transitioned the majority of our employees to work remotely, allowing us to maintain our core functions from a distance.
We encourage employers to leverage technology to improve the efficiency of our interaction; options include making premium payments online, website chat with an assessment account representative or submitting an email with an inquiry or callback request.

Change your payroll estimate

Businesses that are expecting to see a dramatic change in their payroll compared to what they initially reported to the WCB earlier this year can submit a revised 2020 payroll estimate to the WCB and this year's premium will be adjusted accordingly. The quickest and most effective way to submit revised payroll would be to send an email with your account number to [email protected].

Request deferred payments

Given the uncertainty of how long the pandemic will last, making a premium payment after May 2020 could still be difficult. The WCB will continue to monitor the situation and timeframes will change accordingly. If your business requires additional time to make a payment, WCB will work with you to discuss alternate payment options or deferring future pre-authorized payments.

Please see Manitoba WCB's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic FAQ for additional information.

For more information contact Assessment Services:

Email: [email protected]
Web chat: wcb.mb.ca/tell-us-about-yourself
Winnipeg: 204-954-4505
Within Canada toll free: 1-855-954-4321, ext. 4505

 

April 21, 2020: Workers Compensation Board on Manitoba returns $37M surplus to provide financial relief to employers

The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba is returning a $37-million surplus to provide financial relief to eligible employers. This is the second year the WCB has returned surplus funds while still maintaining the lowest assessment rate in Canada.

Eligible employers will receive a credit to their account based on 20 per cent of their 2019 premium, and should notice this credit in their May WCB statement. To be eligible, employers must have fulfilled their payroll reporting responsibilities for 2019 and paid a WCB premium in 2019. Employers can still report their 2019 payroll to receive the surplus distribution.

Of the $37 million, WCB expects $29 million will be returned to the private sector, with approximately $7 million going to small businesses in Manitoba.

More information is available in the Government of Manitoba's news release and the FAQs about the surplus distribution.

 

Manitoba Hydro payment assistance

If you are unable to make payments on your Manitoba Hydro account by the due date you should contact them to make a payment arrangement. Arrangements can be made through MyBill, by emailing [email protected], or by calling 1-204-480-5900 (toll-free at 1-888-624-9376). A credit representative will be help you by making a payment plan that fits your needs and will refer you to programs that we and other community partners offer.

Manitoba Hydro has also discontinued all service disconnections related to overdue accounts until further notice.

FAQ on COVID-19

We’re dedicated to supporting your business through this difficult time by compiling answers to the most common COVID-19 questions and keeping you up to date on the latest relief measures from the federal government. Visit our Small Business Help Center to learn more.