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Saskatchewan: 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 Saskatchewan 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.

NEW! January 12: Current provincial restrictions extended to January 29

On January 12, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that the current provincial restrictions in effect will be extended to January 29th, 2021. 

These restrictions include measures already in effect on December 25 (please see the December 14 update below for more information): 

  • Private, indoor gatherings remain limited to immediate household members only.
  • People may meet and greet outdoors with up to 10 people only, provided physical distancing between households can be maintained.
  • The public health orders for licensed establishments; sports, fitness and dance; places of worship; and mandatory masking remain in place. 
  • All non-essential interprovincial travel is discouraged.

For complete information on the current public health measures, read the Public Health Order.

December 14: New province-wide restrictions take effect between December 17 - 25

On Monday, December 14, the Government of Saskatchewan announced new restrictions that take effect between Thursday, December 17 and Friday, December 25. All measures are in addition or in replacement of the orders already in place (effective November 27), and will last until at least Friday, January 15th.

Note: Each sector has guidance under the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan

If you have questions, please call CFIB today at 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected]

NOTE: Businesses impacted by these new restrictions may qualify for the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment program (SSBEP) - Phase 2


Effective December 17

The following measures will be in effect as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, December 17.

Private, Indoor Gatherings:

  • Private, indoor gatherings will be limited to immediate household members only.
  • Single individuals are permitted to meet with one, consistent household of less than five individuals for the duration of the order. 
  • Co-parenting arrangements are permitted to continue. 
  • Caregivers and support services in the home are permitted to continue. 

Outdoor Gatherings:

  • People may meet and greet outdoors with up to 10 people only, provided physical distancing between households can be maintained.

Effective December 19

The following measures will be in effect as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, December 19.

Personal Services and Event Venues:

  • Personal services may operate at 50 per cent capacity, including staff and clients. Personal services include hairdresser/barber, esthetics, massage therapy, acupuncture, tattooing, etc. (complete list of personal services).
  • Casinos and bingo halls must close.
  • Event venues, conference facilities, arenas, arts venues, museums, movie and live theatres and banquet facilities may still have events up to 30 individuals. During events in these venues, all guests must be seated for the duration. Food and drink are not permitted unless explicitly stated in the order. 
  • NOTE: the guidance for weddings and funeral ceremonies and places of worship is 30 individuals only.  Concurrent services may not occur within multiple locations within one facility.

Effective December 25

The following measures will be in effect as of 12:01 a.m. Friday, December 25.

Retail:

  • Retail services must reduce their capacity to 50 per cent.
  • Large retail locations are required to limit their capacity to 25 per cent capacity. Large retail locations are defined as retailers with a square footage larger than 20,000 square feet. Read the Public Health Orders for more details.

 

UPDATED! November 29: New province-wide restrictions effective November 27

The Government of Saskatchewan announced several new or updated restrictions for businesses and residents across the province effective Friday, November 27 at 12:01AM. These additional health measure, among with the other ongoing measures, remain in effect until December 17, 2020.  

Note: Each sector has guidance under the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan

If you have questions, please call CFIB today at 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected]


UPDATED: Restaurants and Licensed Establishments

All restaurants and licensed establishments (bars, taverns, nightclubs)

  • Limited to seat four at a single table
  • If there are impermeable barriers between the tables, tables must be placed 2 metres apart. If there are no impermeable barriers between tables, there must be a 3 metre distance between all tables.
  • All restaurants and licensed establishments must collect names and contact information from all patrons that dine in for the purposes of contact tracing. This information must be held for 30 days and provided to the Saskatchewan Health Authority upon request. 
  • As well, the curfew on liquor service remains in effect. 
  • Review the Restaurants and Licensed Establishments Guidelines.

Malls and Retail 

Retail businesses must enhance the expectation of mask use and mitigation measures (reduced traffic, directional flow signage, hand sanitizer, etc.) through signage and staff training. 

Large retail locations are required to limit customer access to 50% capacity or 42 metres of space per person, whichever is less. Large retail locations are defined as retailers with a square footage larger than 20,000 square feet, and 50% capacity is determined by half of the specified fire-code capacity. 


Indoor Public Event Gatherings

Indoor public banquets, conferences, wedding and funeral receptions in public venues will be limited to 30 people. Food or beverages may not be present or served. 

Note that the maximum allowable gathering size for private gatherings in the home setting remains at 5. This includes in the home or in buildings located on the private property (e.g. garages, sheds). If your immediate family is 5 or greater, you cannot have additional visitors. Individuals, recurring caregivers, support personnel (i.e. therapists, nursing staff) and tradespersons (i.e. housekeeper, plumber) are permitted, though they should maintain 2 metre distancing and be masked during service provision.

Gatherings of any size beyond your immediate household are strongly discouraged at this time. 


Sports, Fitness and Dance

All team/group sports, activities, games, competitions, recitals, practices, etc. are suspended, including amateur and recreational leagues for all age groups. Examples include hockey, curling, racquet sports, cheerleading, dance practices in group setting, etc.  

Athletes and dancers 18 years of age and under may continue practicing, conditioning and skills training in groups of 8 or fewer, abiding by the required mask use and at least 3 metres of physical distancing between participants at all times. Individual groups of 8 may not share a training/rehearsal surface or space at the same time.

Coaches /trainers are not included in the training group numbers as long as they are masked and maintain a minimum physical distance of 3 metres.

Fitness activities and group fitness classes in groups of 8 or fewer continues to be permitted, for all ages. Mask use and at least 3 metres of physical distancing between participants must be maintained.


Mandatory Masking Expanded

Mandatory, non-medical mask use will be required during all indoor fitness activities, with aquatic activities the only exception.

Mandatory, non-medical masking will be extended to:

  • All students, employees and visitors in all schools and day cares (except while consuming food or beverage or engaging in aquatic fitness activities)
  • Children ages 0-2 years are exempt from wearing masks
  • Children ages 3-12 should wear a mask if they are able to
  • All employees and visitors in all common areas in businesses and workplaces, even in those areas which the public does not have access (e.g. construction sites, manufacturing facilities)
  • All residents, employees and visitors in all common areas in provincial and municipal correctional facilities

Note that masking continues to be required in indoor public areas that have installed barriers.  


UPDATED: Performance and Gaming Venues

Capacity will be restricted to 30 people at all casinos, bingo halls, arenas, live theatres, movie theatres, performing arts venues and any other facilities that are currently supporting a capacity of 150 people. 

Where any of these facilities offer food or beverage service, they must keep the activity separate (i.e. cordoned off) from the food and beverage service. No food or drink may be in the activity area. 


UPDATED: Clarification on Public Health Measures in Movie Theatres

The current Public Health Order has been amended to clarify that patrons of movie theatres can consume food and beverages during the movie, so long as:

  • they are seated; and
  • maintaining the proper minimum physical distancing of 2 metres from others, with the exception of household contacts.

The full list of Re-Open Saskatchewan COVID-19 guidelines for theatres can be found here.


Places of Worship

All places of worship must reduce capacity to 30 people, including wedding, funeral and baptismal services. No food or drink may be present or served. 

 

November 17: Additional restrictions across province effective November 19

The Government of Saskatchewan announced additional restrictions that take effect on Thursday, November 19th beginning at 12:01AM for businesses and residents across the province. These restrictions are in addition to what is already in place (see updates below) and are in effect until (at least) December 17th.

Mandatory Masking Province-wide

While the province continues to recommend wearing masks whenever you are outside the home, wearing a non-medical mask will now be required in all indoor public spaces in Saskatchewan.  

The list of indoor spaces may be amended for clarity; however, if you unsure if a location qualifies as an “indoor public space”, defer to wearing the mask – choose the option that promotes public safety.

For a free mandatory mask sign,visit here.

For information on non-medical masks and how to wear them,visit here.


Private Indoor Gathering Sizes Reduced

Indoor private gathering sizes are being reduced. The maximum allowable gathering size for private gatherings in the home setting will decrease to five, down from 10.  This includes in the home or in buildings located on private property (eg. garages, sheds).

If your immediate family is five or greater, you cannot have additional visitors. Gatherings of any size beyond your immediate household are strongly discouraged at this time. 

Support personnel (ie. therapists, nursing staff) and tradespersons (ie. housekeeper, plumber) are permitted though they should maintain two metre distancing and be masked during service provision. Health care workers not able to maintain physical distancing when providing home care services must wear appropriate PPE.

Any private gathering of more than five people/your immediate household must occur in a public venue (ie. restaurant, community hall), abiding by all applicable guidelines of physical distancing, food service, masking, etc. 

Outdoor private gatherings remain at 30 people maximum and only if physical distancing of two metres can be maintained at all times. 


Protecting Residents of Long-Term and Personal Care Homes

Visitation to all long-term care facilities and personal care homes will be suspended, with the exception of compassionate reasons as per the current family visitation policy


Update to Re-Open Saskatchewan for Entertainment Transportation

Entertainment transportation (ie. party buses, group limousines and recreational vehicles) are no longer permitted. 


Reviewing Hospitality Industry Guidelines

The ministry will consult with the hospitality industry (restaurants, bars, casinos, etc.) to determine how the guidelines, taken seriously by many, can be enhanced to ensure that the necessary measures are being taken to reduce COVID-19 transmission. 

To share your recommendations on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the hospitality sector, email CFIB today!


Reviewing Athletic Organization and Recreation Guidelines

The Ministry of Health will be consulting athletic organizations and gyms to determine how the guidelines, taken seriously by many, can be enhanced to ensure that the necessary measures are being taken to reduce COVID-19 transmission.

To share your recommendations on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 in gyms, email CFIB today!

If you have questions, please call CFIB today at 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected]

November 13: New restrictions across province effective November 16

The Government of Saskatchewan announced new sector-specific restrictions effective Monday, November 16, for 28 days.


New Province-wide Restrictions:

Alcohol Service Curfew for Licensed Establishments:

  • All Saskatchewan restaurants and licensed establishments (bars, taverns, nightclubs) will be required to stop serving alcohol by 10 pm and consumption must end by 11 pm. There are no exceptions for private events or outdoor serving spaces.

Updates to Re-Open Saskatchewan for fitness:

  • Fitness facilities may continue to operate under the Re-Open Saskatchewan guidelines but all aerobic group fitness activities (ie spin classes, class circuit training, aquasize) are limited to a maximum of eight participants.
  • Group aerobic activities are permitted only if participants can be three metres apart throughout the duration of the activity, as required by the current Re-Open Saskatchewan guideline.
  • Individual aerobic activities (ie treadmill, stationary bike, lane swimming) are permitted if all required equipment is properly distanced according to the Re-Open Saskatchewan guidelines.

Updates to Re-Open Saskatchewan for hookah:

  • As an activity of increased transmission risk, all hookah and waterpipe services are now disallowed. Hookah/waterpipe locations may also be licensed establishments and restaurants. They may continue to act as licensed establishments and restaurants, according to the guidelines for those respective businesses.

Also added to the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan are Arena Facility Guidelines, and updates to the Sports and Activity, Performing Arts, and Transportation guidelines.


Communities Under Mandatory Masking Order

In addition to Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert, the following communities will be required to wear non-medical masks in all indoor public spaces, effective Monday, November 16:

  • Aberdeen
  • Albertville
  • Allan
  • Asquith
  • Balgonie
  • Battleford
  • Beaver Creek
  • Belle Plaine
  • Bradwell
  • Cedar Villa Estates
  • Clavet
  • Colonsay
  • RM of Corman Park No. 344
  • Craven
  • Dalmeny
  • Davin
  • Delisle
  • Dundurn
  • Edenwold
  • Estevan
  • Furdale
  • Grand Coulee
  • Gray
  • Humboldt
  • Kindersley
  • Kronau
  • Langham
  • Lloydminster
  • Lumsden
  • Lumsden Beach
  • MacDowall
  • Martensville
  • Meacham
  • Meadow Lake
  • Meath Park
  • Melfort
  • Melville
  • Moose Jaw
  • Neuhorst
  • Nipawin
  • North Battleford
  • Pense
  • Pilot Butte
  • Prince Albert
  • Regina
  • Regina Beach
  • Riceton
  • Saskatoon
  • Shields
  • St. Louis
  • Swift Current
  • Thode
  • Vanscoy
  • Warman
  • Weirdale
  • Weyburn
  • Whitecap
  • White City
  • Yorkton

For a free mandatory mask sign,visit here.

For information on non-medical masks and how to wear them,visit here.

If you have questions, please call CFIB today at 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected]

Additional Restrictions Prior to November13

Restrictions for Saskatoon, Regina & Prince Albert Effective November 6

The Government of Saskatchewan announced new public health orders to reduce gathering sizes and to require masks in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert effective November 6.

As of 12:01 am Friday, November 6, the public health orders will be amended, enhancing measures to address increasing COVID-19 case rates in the province of Saskatchewan. Transmission trends in rural and smaller centres has been linked primarily to private gatherings while transmission in the urban areas includes both private gatherings and exposures in public spaces.

Indoor Gathering Sizes Reduced

The maximum allowable gathering size for private gatherings in the home setting will decrease to 10, down from 15.  This maximum allowable size includes those household members who ordinarily reside in the dwelling.  Any event that occurs in a private dwelling and any outbuildings (garages, etc.) including weddings, religious gathering and funerals must abide by the 10 person gathering limit.

The 10 person limit does not apply to households with more than 10 family members living in the same residence.

If you are planning any gathering larger than 10, you must host the gathering in a public venue (restaurant, banquet hall, etc.) and abide by the guidelines that apply to that location. Restaurants, licensed establishments, banquet halls as well as weddings, funerals and religious gatherings which are all required to follow seating and physical distancing guidelines as described in the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan.

Mandatory Masking Required in Indoor Public Places in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert

All residents are required to wear non-medical masks when in indoor public spaces, in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert.  This public health order will be in place for 28 days, then subject to review by the chief medical health officer.

Enforcement is permitted under the Public Health Act; however, compliance through education is the primary preference of public health.  Public health will closely monitor compliance and encourage all individuals, businesses and organizations to abide by the masking order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.  Enforcement options will be considered based on observed compliance with the order.

For all communities, health officials strongly recommend wearing a non-medical mask anywhere outside the home as an additional measure to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.  Non-medical or cloth masks can play an important role in settings where physical distancing is not possible or is unpredictable.

All residents are to continue to reduce their close contacts and return to safe outings:

  • Identify a single member of the household to do grocery shopping, run errands.
  • Limit those errands to once per week.
  • If you are working from home, ensure that your workplace will continue to support you to do so.

Additional Restrictions Effective October 30

On October 28, the Government of Saskatchewan announced new restrictions for some businesses in specific communities effective on October 30.

For nightclubs in the City of Saskatoon, new include:

  • The consumption of alcohol in all nightclubs is prohibited from the hours of 10 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. for all persons, including patrons, staff, and owners;
  • Nightclubs must be closed to patrons at 11 p.m. until at least 9:30 a.m. the following day.  Takeout food services are permitted.

Points of clarification:

  • For the purposes of this order, a “nightclub” means an establishment at which the main activities are selling liquor and providing music to which patrons can dance.
  • This order is not intended to capture lounges, pubs, restaurants, or liquor manufacturing facilities that have tasting rooms.

The order will also require all nightclubs in Saskatchewan to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Six patrons to a table only.
  • Static table groupings – no mingling among groups/tables.
  • Karaoke and dance floors remain prohibited.
  • Business owners and operators must ensure physical distancing within their establishments.
  • As outlined in the Reopen Saskatchewan Guidelines, mask use is required for staff. It is strongly encouraged for patrons until they are seated.

Recommendations for all establishments in Saskatchewan:

  • Bars/nightclubs/licensed establishments are recommended to take names and contact information of all patrons to assist contact tracing in the event of possible transmission.

If there is conflict between the Re-Open Saskatchewan Guidelines and the Public Health Order conflict, the requirements under the Public Health Order are to be followed. 

If you have questions, please call CFIB today at 1-888-9234-2232 or email [email protected] for more information.


Private Gathering Sizes Reduced Starting October 16

With the increasing rise in cases throughout Saskatchewan linked to public and private social gatherings, the Public Health order on gathering sizes in private residences is being amended so that the maximum allowable gathering size for private gatherings in the home will be 15.  This will be in effect as of Friday, October 16.

This will not impact restaurants, licensed establishments, banquet halls as well as weddings, funerals and religious gatherings which are all required to follow seating and physical distancing guidelines as described in the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/re-open-saskatchewan-plan. Any event that occurs in a private dwelling, including weddings, religious gathering and funerals, must abide by the 15 person gathering limit.


Province Announces Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan

 

Personal Protective Equipment Suppliers in Saskatchewan

Businesses resuming operations as part of The Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan may be required to utilize Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in order to protect themselves and their clients/customers and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In an effort to help Saskatchewan businesses source the PPE they need, the provincial government has compiled lists of PPE suppliers. The list of PPE suppliers & list of Saskatchewan producers approved by Health Canada to manufacture hand sanitizers can be viewed here on the Government of Saskatchewan’s website.

Please note – these lists of suppliers are not exhaustive and the provincial government does not endorse nor certify any of these companies. Businesses are responsible for conducting their own due diligence should they choose to utilize any of these suppliers.

Support for business

UPDATED! January 7 The Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy (RSTS) program application deadline extended to March 31

Note: the application deadline for the Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy was extended to March 31, 2021.

On January 7, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that the application deadline for the Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy was extended from December 31, 2020 to March 31, 2021. 

This temporary training program aims to help businesses train employees to enhance safety protocols and adjust business models as they re-open. The Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy (RSTS) program will reimburse eligible private-sector employers 100 per cent of employee training costs up to a maximum of $10,000 per business to mitigate against additional financial impacts from training required to support their safe re-opening.

Benefits

  • Training support through the RSTS program will ensure employers have access to training to maintain business activities while continuing to promote workplace safety and stimulate competitiveness without a financial burden;
  • Employers select the trainee(s) and the training program;
  • 100% reimbursement to eligible employers for approved training;
  • Approved employers will receive 33% of the cost of training upon entering into a training agreement with the government. The remaining 67% will be paid upon completion of final reporting and verification of actual expenditures; and
  • The maximum payment is $10,000 to eligible employers for the RSTS Program.

 

Eligibility

Employers

To be eligible, employers must be on the Government of Saskatchewan's list of critical public services and allowable businesses during the emergency period, or eligible to resume operations in a confirmed phase of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan.

The list of critical public services and allowable businesses is updated periodically as the provincial economy reopens to services and communities, and will be used to identify eligible employers.

Eligible employers must be on the critical public services and allowable businesses list as of the application received date or during the eligibility assessment processing period.

Publicly funded organizations such as health regions, post-secondary training institutions, public libraries, municipalities and school divisions are not eligible under this program.

Self-employed individuals are not eligible to participate as RSTS supported trainees.

Trainees

  • Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident with a Social Insurance Number;
  • May be either a new hire or an existing employee; and
  • Temporary Foreign Workers are not eligible.
  • Training Costs
  • Tuition fees or fees charged by the training provider;
  • Mandatory student fees;
  • Textbooks, software and other required materials;
  • Learning material fees; and
  • Examination fees.

* Training taken prior to an approved contract is not eligible for funding.

Training

Training is flexible. Employers choose the training program and mode of delivery that will meet their needs within the following requirements:

  • Must be delivered by a Saskatchewan based third party not affiliated with the employer;
  • Must be a minimum of 8 hours in length per trainee by the same training provider and completed within 4 months; and
  • Must result in a credential (record of completion, certificate, grade, etc.).

Trainers

Third-party trainers must be based in Saskatchewan and could include:

  • Post-secondary education institutions;
  • Private vocational schools, trade unions; and
  • Private industry trainers.

Application Deadline: Applications must be received on or before March 31, 2021.

Application Documents:

APPLY HERE: Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy Application

UPDATED! December 22 - Saskatchewan Strong Recovery Adaptation Rebate now open

On December 7, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the new Strong Recovery Adaptation Rebate (SRAR) to assist businesses as they adapt to address the challenges caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

The rebate will assist businesses who have adapted to different business models, such as changing the use of square footage, installing physical infrastructure to comply with COVID-19 mitigation guidelines, and upgrading technology, such as websites, to enhance their business. 

The program is for Saskatchewan businesses that employ less than 100 people, have or will incur expenses to adapt their business model between April 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021, plan to continue operating, and have experienced at least a 30 per cent revenue decline compared to 2019.

Eligible applicants will receive a rebate of 50% up to a maximum of $5,000 for a $10,000 expenditure, with amounts being determined based on business expenditures for changing business models to adapt to the current environment related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The minimum business expenditure that will be reimbursed is $300 (which would mean a $150 government contribution).

Eligible expenses include website development or enhancements to support curbside pickup or delivery, initial costs for new software, costs of renovations and lasting equipment needed to operate safely like hand sanitation stations, or contactless payment. They do not include staff costs, personal protective equipment such as masks, hand sanitizer or cleaning products.

Applications are now open for the SRAR program (application deadline is March 31, 2021). 

APPLY HERE

For more information, call 1-800-667-6102 or 306-787-6645 in Regina.

You can also call CFIB today at 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected]

UPDATED! Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) – Phase 2 opened December 7

NOTE: New businesses may also qualify for the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) - Phase 2. Contact [email protected] or 1-800-667-6102 for advice on the specific situation. 

On December 3, the provincial government announced that the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) – Phase 2. Applications opened on Monday, December 7. This program provides up to $5,000 in financial assistance to eligible small businesses that have been ordered to temporarily close or substantially curtail operations between December 1 and 31, 2020 due to a public health order to help control transmission of COVID-19. 

The program was initially offered April through June of 2020. The amended Phase 2 of the program has been established for December 1 – 31, 2020.

Financial assistance includes a payment of up to $5,000 that could be used for any purpose. Payments are calculated based on 15% of a business's monthly sales revenue in any of November 2019, December 2019, or February 2020. The applicant may select the month to provide the business with the most financial assistance. For seasonal businesses, payments are based on 15% of a seasonal business's average monthly sales revenue, based on the full months that the business carried on operations in 2019.

To be eligible, a Saskatchewan business must:

  • Have been carrying on business in Saskatchewan on October 31, 2020;
  • Maintain a permanent establishment in Saskatchewan and pay income tax to Saskatchewan;
  • Have been ordered to temporarily close or substantially curtail operations through a COVID-19 public health order;
  • Have less than 500 full-time and part-time employees;
    • In the year before the public health order; or
    • When averaged for the 3 years before the year in which the public health order was made;
  • Attest that they:
    • have experienced a loss, or will experience a loss, in sales revenue from business activities from December 1 to December 31, 2020, due to a public health order; and
    • plan to reopen or continue operations following the cancellation of the public health orders.
  • Apply before January 31, 2021.

You can apply now by visit the SSBEPP program website.

For more information, visit the program website, email [email protected] or call 1-800-667-6102 or 306-787-6645 in Regina.

You can also call CFIB today at 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected]

NEW! December 7 - WCB is freezing 2021 average rate at $1.17

On December 7, the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) announced that it will hold the 2021 average employer premium rate at the 2020 rate of $1.17, and will cap industry level rates at 10%. These measures are aimed at providing some economic relief to Saskatchewan businesses struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the WCB’s rate model, the 2021 average required rate should have been $1.23 per hundred dollars of payroll without the board level hold. 

August 10: Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program (STSSP) Launched

The Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program (STSSP) will provide financial assistance for tourism businesses that have seen a significant drop in sales revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will begin accepting applications starting at 2 p.m. on August 24, 2020.

Funding is available under two streams:

Program payments for businesses in the event business sector will be based on the number of attendees the event typically attracts:

  • $7,500 to an eligible applicant whose event typically attracts less than 2,500 attendees;
  • $10,000 to an eligible applicant whose event typically attracts 2,500 to 5,000 attendees;
  • $15,000 to an eligible applicant whose event typically attracts more than 5,000 attendees.

Program payments for businesses in the attractions or tour business sectors will be based on the business’ number of employees.

  • $7,500 to an eligible applicant with 1 to 4 employees;
  • $10,000 to an eligible applicant with 5 to 10 employees; 
  • $15,000 to an eligible applicant with more than 10 employees. 

Eligible applicants must:

  • Be a tourism business;
  • Maintain a permanent establishment in Saskatchewan;
  • Have been eligible to conduct business in Saskatchewan on February 29, 2020;
  • Have experienced a loss of sales revenue of at least 30% when compared to 2019;
  • Intend to carry on business operations; and
  • Not receive funding from the Government of Saskatchewan to cover its core funding.

Loss of sales revenue will be considered as follows:

  • For year-round business, sales revenue in June 2020 would be compared to average monthly sales revenue in 2019.
  • For a seasonal business, the applicant's bookings or sales revenues are expected to decline 30% when compared to 2019.
  • For an event business, the applicant's planned events for 2020 have been canceled.

For additional information on the program, call 1-800-667-6102 or 306-787-6645 in Regina. 

June 5: Saskatchewan Announces Temporary Commercial Eviction Protection For Tenants

Temporary Moratorium Issued to Support Small Businesses

The Government of Saskatchewan announced temporary commercial eviction protection for small business tenants during the COVID-19 emergency.  The moratorium on evictions applies to landlords that are eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program but choose not to.

The province is encouraging landlords and tenants to work together, and is also encouraging eligible landlords to apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program, which will help support small businesses by reducing their rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. For those eligible landlords who choose not to apply, there will be a moratorium on evicting small business tenants who are not able to pay their rent.

The CECRA program began accepting applications from commercial property owners in Saskatchewan on May 27. In partnership with the provinces and territories, the federal program provides rent relief to small business tenants where their operations have paused or been curtailed and lost at least 70 per cent of their revenue as a result of COVID-19.  Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75 per cent rent reduction for the months of April, May and June 2020.  The CECRA loans to landlords, which equal 50 per cent of total rent, will be forgiven if the landlord complies with program terms and conditions, including an agreement to not recover forgiven rent amounts when the program is over.  To qualify for the program, the commercial property owner must apply, and their qualifying business tenant must cooperate by signing an attestation on experiencing financial hardship.

Temporary commercial eviction protection is an order issued under section 18 of The Emergency Planning Act, where an emergency program with respect to commercial leases “applies to any lease between a tenant and a landlord who is not eligible for assistance under the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program in respect of that tenant for the sole reason that the landlord has not, as required to be eligible for that program, entered into a rent reduction agreement with the tenant that includes a moratorium on eviction.”

The emergency order restricting commercial evictions is effective immediately.

Update: Changes to Employment Standard Regulations

In addition to changes made to The Saskatchewan Employment Act that introduced a new unpaid public health emergency leave and removed the 13-week employment requirement to access sick leave and the requirement for a doctor’s note to access sick leave, The Employment Standard Regulations have also been amended to:

  • Ensure that during a public emergency, businesses will not have to provide notice or pay in lieu of notice when they lay-off staff if it is for a period of 12 weeks or less in a 16-week period; and
  • UPDATE: Employers do not have to provide notice or pay instead of notice for layoffs that will occur during and up to two weeks after the end of the Chief Medical Health Officer’s Public Health Order. The additional two weeks are provided for employers and employees to prepare for the employee to return to work. Employees are to be scheduled on or before the end of the two weeks, otherwise their employment is considered to be terminated and pay instead of notice is due. Pay instead of notice would be calculated from the date the employee was originally laid off. Employees on a temporary layoff would still be considered employees but would be able to apply for Federal Employment Insurance Benefits.

Note: The Chief Medical Health Officer's current Public Health Order came into effect on September 10th, and remains in effect until in the opinion of the Chief Medical Health Officer, there is no longer a public health threat.

These amendments create a balance for employers and employees where the difficult decision may be made to lay-off employees due to public health emergencies. In this circumstance, employees would have immediate access to new federal employment insurance programs, while keeping employers financially stable to ensure employees have a job to return to.
 

For more information, please see the Government of Saskatchewan's COVID-19: Questions and Answers on Leaves, Layoffs and Occupational Health and Safety in the Workplace

Business Response Team

To provide support to Saskatchewan businesses seeking to navigate the uncertain conditions caused by COVID-19, the Government of Saskatchewan will be establishing a single window information webpage for businesses to access information and receive timely updates on provincial support initiatives.  This will be complemented by the establishment of a Business Response Team, led by the Ministry of Trade and Export Development, which will work with businesses to identify program supports relevant to particular businesses available to them both provincially and federally.

An email address and toll-free telephone number have been created to provide businesses a single point of contact to help answer questions.  A single window information webpage has also been developed for businesses to access information and receive timely updates on provincial support initiatives.  The webpage includes information on both provincial and federal support measures, including the province’s recently announced financial support program.

For more information, businesses can contact the Business Response Team by calling 1-844-800-8688, emailing [email protected] or by visiting www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-businesses

SaskBuilds Single Procurement Service

The Government of Saskatchewan has been contacted by many businesses, individuals and groups who have offered ideas and solutions.  As such, the SaskBuilds Single Procurement Service will serve as a central point of contact and co-ordination. If you are a Saskatchewan business, innovator, or supplier and you think you have a solution that can help us fight COVID-19, you may direct your submission to [email protected].

Other support measures

Crown Corporations - utility payment relief

Crown Utility Interest Deferral Programs:

SaskPower

On March 20, the provincial government announced a crown utility interest deferral program waiving interest on late bill payments for up to six months. Effective immediately, the crown utility interest deferral program is available to all crown utility customers, including business owners.

In response to the COVID-19 issue, SaskPower has instituted the following additional measures to ease potential challenges for customers. These include:

  • Stopping active collection activity on overdue accounts
  • Stopping disconnections of residential power service for non-payment
  • Not installing devices to limit electrical supply to customers who are in arrears

Crown utilities are waiving interest for six months to help residents and businesses deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19. Over this period, no late payment charges or interest will be applied. After six months, the balance of regular monthly payments will be due.

To help customers get back on their feet, they will have a year after that six-month period to pay off any outstanding balance over the next year with equal monthly installments. No additional interest will be charged. In total, this provides customers with 18 months to recover from the impact of the pandemic to their finances.

For more information, please see SaskPower's website.

SaskEnergy

In an effort to provide some relief for customers, effective March 18th, SaskEnergy also implemented the government's Crown Utility Interest Waiver Program. Over the coming six months, late payment charges and interest fees will be waived. During this time, SaskEnergy will not be disconnecting customers for non-payment.

After the close of the six-month program, any outstanding balance can be paid back over the following 12 months through equal monthly installments – with no additional interest charged on these payments. In total, this provides customers with a period of 18 months to recover from the impact of the pandemic to their finances.

If you are experiencing financial hardship due to the ongoing pandemic, please call SaskEnergy at 1-800-567-8899 or 1-306-777-9200 to discuss the program and payment plan options.

For more information, please see SaskEnergy's website.

Supports for self-employed

Self-Isolation Support Program

Administered by the Ministry of Finance, the program will provide $450 per week, for a maximum of two weeks or $900. The program is targeted at Saskatchewan residents forced to self-isolate that are not covered by recent federally announced employment insurance programs and other supports. The program is designed to ensure that all Saskatchewan residents are covered by either a federal or provincial program to ensure no one is faced with choosing to work instead of protecting their family and community from COVID-19 by self-isolating.

The program applies to Saskatchewan small business owners that meet the following eligibility criteria:

• They have contracted COVID-19 or are showing symptoms;
• They have been in contact with an individual infected with COVID-19;
• They have recently returned from international travel and have been required to self-isolate;
AND
• If they are not eligible for compensation including sick leave, vacation leave from their employer
• If they do not have private insurance covering such disruptions
• If they are not covered by other programs such as federal employment insurance that has been updated

For more information, please see the Government of Saskatchewan's Self-Isolation Support Program webpage

Support for employees

Information on support for workers

A website has also been launched to provide information on support for workers who have had their employment impacted by the current economic situation.  Workers can visit www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-workers  for more information
Leave for Employees during Public Health Emergencies: The provincial government has introduced amendments to The Saskatchewan Employment Act which ensure employees have access to job protected leaves during a public health emergency. The amendments to the Act are:

  1. to remove the requirement of 13 consecutive weeks of employment with the employer prior to accessing sick leave;
  2. to remove the provision requiring a doctor’s note or certificate; and
  3. Introduction of a new unpaid public health emergency leave that can be accessed:
    1. When the World Health Organization has determined that there is a public health emergency and the province’s chief medical health officer has also issued an order that measures be taken to reduce the spread of a disease; or
    2. The province’s chief medical health officer has independently issued an order that measures be taken provincially to reduce the spread of a disease where it is believed there is sufficient risk of harm to citizens of the province. The orders would also be made public to ensure everyone is aware of the direction.

The amendments to the Act are retroactive to March 6, 2020.

Taking care of your mental health during the COVID-19 crisis

There are a number of mental health resources available to Saskatchewan residents including:

Employee and Family Assistance Programs can assist with mental health supports and counselling for qualifying employees and their dependents.

For example:

The Ministry of Education continues to offer Mental Health Capacity Building support for staff and students in five schools during school closures, through online and social media platforms.

Ministry of Social Services staff are supporting clients, service providers and Approved Private Service Homes.  All CBO agencies continue to offer counselling by phone or virtual technology.

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 and the Saskatchewan municipalities. Visit our Small Business Help Center to learn more.