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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.

Province Announces Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan

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.

On April 23, 2020, Premier Scott Moe and Saskatchewan's Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab  announced the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan. Re-Open Saskatchewan is a plan built on a methodical and phased approach to slowly lifting restrictions so that more businesses can open and more employees can go back to work.  The plan introduces five phases to methodically, gradually and cautiously re-open businesses and services across Saskatchewan, beginning May 4, 2020.  The plan also details physical distancing measures and restrictions that will remain in place throughout the five phases and provides a number of factors to inform decisions regarding the lifting of long-term restrictions.

Over the next several weeks, restrictions will be gradually lifted by adding more types of businesses to the allowable businesses list, meaning that they can re-open if they so choose. All businesses and public venues will be required to continue following physical distancing and cleaning and disinfection practices to protect both employees and customers.  Members of the public will be expected to follow physical distancing rules and to stay home if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

For additional information, please visit the provincial government's Re-Open Saskatchewan website.

 

Do you have questions about how to safely get back to business as Saskatchewan’s economy reopens?
As the province starts to lift restrictions and reopen the economy, CFIB has put together tools and resources to help you get back to business and keep your staff and customers safe:

 

If you have any outstanding questions or concerns about the province's reopening plan please contact CFIB directly at 1-888-234-2232 or email at [email protected] 

You can also contact the Government of Saskatchewan's  Business Response Team by calling 1-844-800-8688, email [email protected] or by visiting www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-businesses.

 

Five Phases of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan

The Re-Open Saskatchewan plan consists of five phases.  The timing and order of the businesses and workplaces included in each phase is subject to change throughout the process based on a continuous assessment of transmission patterns and other factors.

 

Phase One (Beginning May 4, 2020): Re-opening previously restricted medical services, Opening of golf courses, parks and campground

  • The first phase of the plan includes the re-opening of medical services restricted under the current public health order, and the resumption of low-risk outdoor recreational activities, including fishing and boat launches, golf courses and a fixed date for parks and campgrounds.  The size restrictions of public and private gatherings will remain at a maximum of 10 people.
  • On May 4, public access to medical services will be reinstated, including access to dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, opticians, podiatry, occupational therapy and chiropractic treatment.  When it is not possible to physically distance, providers will be required to take precautionary measures as outlined by the Chief Medical Health Officer.
  • Low-risk outdoor recreational activities will be allowable with precautionary measures, including fishing and boat launches (May 4), golfing with physical distancing guidelines (May 15) and a fixed date (June 1) and clear guidelines for the operation of parks and campgrounds.

 

Phase Two (May 19): Re-opening retail and select personal care services

  • The second phase of the plan includes the May 19 re-opening of retail businesses and select personal services that were previously not deemed allowable.
  • The size restrictions of public and private gatherings will remain at a maximum of 10 people.
  • A full list of retail businesses and select personal services that will be deemed allowable in phase two is included in the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan, along with guidance, protocols, and physical distancing measures that allowable businesses and services are required to observe.

 

Phase Three (June 8): Re-opening restaurants and food services at 50% capacity, gyms and fitness centres, licensed establishments and child care facilities, re-opening remaining personal care services, increasing the size of  indoor public and private gatherings to 15 people

Personal service businesses that did not open in Phase 2 are also allowed to begin providing services.

This includes:

  • Estheticians;
  • Tattoo artists;
  • Make-up applicators;
  • Electrologists;
  • Manicurists;
  • Pedicurists;
  • Sun tanning parlours;
  • Facilities in which body piercing, bone grafting or scarification services are provided; and
  • Other personal service facilities  

 

Guidance for restaurants, fitness facilities and other businesses and services opening is now available:

 

 

Phase Four, Part One (June 22):

Activities scheduled for the first part of Phase 4 of the plan to re-open the province can get underway, including:

  • child and youth day camps;
  • outdoor pools and splash pads; and
  • outdoor sports and activities.

You are advised to check with the local operator of the activities noted above regarding availability.  Some municipalities have indicated that activities, such as outdoor pools, may remain closed.

 Indoor gatherings of up to 30 people are permitted where space allows for 2 metres of physical distancing between participants. Outdoor gatherings of up to 30 people continue to be permitted with a two metre physical separation between individuals.

 

Phase Four, Part Two (June 29):

Beginning Monday, June 29, libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres and live theatres will be able to re-open. 

 

Indoor Pools, Rinks, Sports And The Performing Arts Can Re-Open On July 6 - Casinos And Bingo Halls To Follow On July 9:

Beginning Monday, July 6, indoor pools, indoor rinks, indoor sports and activities, and the performing arts – including music, dance and theatre – will be able to re-open.  The seating capacity for restaurants and licensed establishments will also increase that same day to a level that allows staff and customers to maintain two metres of physical distance.

On Thursday, July 9, casinos and bingo halls are able to re-open for business.

Racetracks and rodeo-related activities are targeted to resume on July 16. Guidelines are being developed and will include guidance related to spectators. 

 

The re-opening dates for the other activities in this part of Phase 4, including indoor pools, indoor rinks, indoor sports and activities, casinos and bingo halls will be announced over the next two weeks.

 

For additional information about sector specific guidelines in the Reopening plan, please see visit the Government of Saskatchewan's website.

As restrictions on businesses and services are gradually lifted in the province, additional information continues to be added to the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan based on direction from public health officials and input from businesses and service providers.

The size of indoor public and private gatherings will increase to 15 people in Phase 3, while the size of outdoor gatherings will increase to 30.

All businesses that are eligible to re-open must follow the guidelines in the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan and the current public health order.

 

Phase Five (Date TBD): Consider lifting long-term restrictions

 The fifth phase will be implemented following an evaluation of transmission patterns of COVID-19 and the preceding four phases, and will include the consideration of lifting long-term restrictions.

 

Long-Term Restrictions on High Risk Areas Remain In Place

A number of long-term measures and restrictions that are related to the highest risk areas will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

These long-term restrictions include:

  • Maintaining the current Provincial State of Emergency;
  • Recommendations against non-essential international and interprovincial travel;
  • Mandatory 14-day self-isolation following international travel, exposure to COVID-19, or a positive COVID-19 test;
  • Visitor restrictions limited to compassionate reasons at long-term care homes, hospitals, personal care homes and group homes; and
  • Large public gatherings remain prohibited.

Recommendations throughout all Phases

The following recommendations should remain in place through all five phases:

  • Protective measures for vulnerable populations;
  • Individuals should continue working from home if they can do so effectively;
  • Physical distancing must be maintained, wherever possible;
  • People must stay at home when they are sick;
  • Vulnerable individuals, such as seniors and those with underlying health conditions, should continue to exercise caution and minimize high-risk exposures, such as public outings;
  • Personal hygiene will continue to be a key prevention measure;
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection should take place in workplaces, public spaces and recreational facilities;

Although the public health order regarding the size of gatherings does not apply to businesses and workplaces, they are expected to follow the recommended public health measures, including: physical distancing for staff and clients; regular cleaning and disinfection; frequent handwashing and sanitizing; use of PPE where available and appropriate; and keeping staff who demonstrate or report COVID-19 symptoms out of the workplace; and
Long-term care and personal care homes must ensure that each staff member works in only one facility.  

To find out which business services were permitted to continue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic in Saskatchewan, please see the provincial government's list of critical public services and allowable business services.
 

COVID-19 Information for Saskatchewan Residents

Residents of Saskatchewan should remain diligent in maintaining physical distancing and practicing good hygiene.  For information regarding the latest COVID-19 updates and to read the full Re-Open Saskatchewan plan, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.

 

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.

NEW! 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.

Support for business

NEW! 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. 

UPDATE: The Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy (RSTS) program application deadline extended to December 31, 2020

The provincial government announced a new temporary training program 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.

NOTE: The province recently announced that the deadline to apply for the Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy (RSTS) has been extended from July 31 to December 31, 2020

 

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 December 31, 2020.

 

Application Documents:

 

APPLY HERE: Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy Application

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.