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Manitoba: COVID-19 relief measures for your business

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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. 

 

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

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

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.