Back to Work and Re-opening Plans

This page has information on the economic re-opening plans issued by the Government of Canada’s 10 provinces and 3 territories. Please note that the resources listed are for informational purposes only, are summary in nature and are not intended, singly or collectively, as a comprehensive statement of the legal requirements that may apply to your business in the jurisdictions discussed. Laws, regulations and policies relating to the pandemic are constantly changing and some changes may not be reflected on this page or in the linked materials. For specific questions about operating your business and the rules that apply to employees in the workplace, please contact your Stikeman Elliott representative or other qualified advisor. Last updated October 9, 2020.

Province/Territory

Alberta British Columbia Manitoba
New Brunswick Newfoundland and Labrador Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia Nunavut Ontario
Prince Edward Island Quebec Saskatchewan
Yukon    

Alberta

Description
 Resources

Under Alberta's three-stage “Opening Soon” relaunch strategy, physical distancing requirements and public-gathering size limits will remain in place throughout the process. Certain key sectors – construction, manufacturing and natural resources – are permitted to operate in all three stages.

Current status: Stage 2

Alberta entered Stage 2 on June 12. In this stage, most businesses are able to open and operate, with two metre physical distancing requirements. Non-restricted services and businesses that are permitted to open must follow general and sector-specific guidance and have enhanced infection prevention and controls in place. Social gatherings must not exceed 50 people for indoor social gatherings, 200 people for audience-type community outdoor events and 100 people for other outdoor events and indoor seated/audience events. Activities that are not permitted and businesses that must remain closed include: vocal concerts; major festivals and concerts, large conferences, trade shows and events; nightclubs; amusement parks; indoor children’s play places; major sporting events and tournaments. Non-essential travel outside the province continues to be discouraged.

Stage 3: Timing TBD

In Stage 3, businesses will be able to fully reopen with limited restrictions, and larger gatherings will be permitted (with capacity limits to be determined). Larger events, such as arts and culture festivals, concerts, major sporting events and gatherings such as industry conferences will be permitted with enhanced controls in place, including physical distancing. In Stage 3, non-essential travel outside the province will no longer be discouraged.

 

Main page:
Alberta's COVID-19 response

Plan:
Alberta's Relaunch Strategy

Business Resources:
Relaunch guidance documents; Alberta Biz Connect; COVID-19 orders and legislation

SE Posts:
Reopening Requirements Published for Alberta Businesses; Written Plans No Longer Required (May 19, 2020)
Opening Soon: Alberta Introduces Plans to Reopen Economy (May 1, 2020)

British Columbia

Description
 Resources
British Columbia's "Restart Plan" lays out a four-phase approach for the province in order to balance rebuilding the economy with keeping the transmission rate of COVID-19 as low as possible. Particularly in the early phases of the pandemic, B.C. took a somewhat different approach than the other provinces: most businesses were not required to close as long as they were able to operate safely and adhere to applicable guidelines.

Current status: Phase 3
British Columbia entered Phase 3 on June 24, 2020. In this phase, most businesses are able to open and operate, provided that extra safety precautions and physical distancing measures are in place. Gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. Activities that are not permitted and businesses that must remain closed include: nightclubs, standalone banquet halls, conventions, live audience professional sports, concerts and international tourism.

Phase 4: Timing TBD
This phase will see the resumption of activities requiring large gatherings such as live audience professional sports, concerts and international tourism. Phase 4 is conditional on the occurrence of at least one of the following: widespread vaccination; community immunity; or broad successful treatment.            

 

Main page:
B.C.'s Response to COVID-19

Plan:
BC's Restart Plan

Business Resources:
WorkSafe BC Covid-19 Information and Resources
COVID-19 Orders, Notices and Guidance

SE Post:
British Columbia's Restart Plan (May 7, 2020)

Manitoba

Description
 Resources

Manitoba’s "Pandemic Economic Recovery Roadmap" consists of four phases. The timing and specifics noted in each phase are subject to change on the advice of public health experts.

Current status: Phase 4

Manitoba entered Phase 4 on July 25, 2020, with some elements deferred in whole or part as a result of public health advice and general public feedback. In Phase 4, businesses may open and operate provided that social distancing and public health guidelines are followed. Limits on public gatherings are 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Travel restrictions are still in place, including 14- day self-isolation requirements for those travelling into Manitoba from eastern and southern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Main Page:
Covid-19

Plan:
Restoring Safe Services Together: Manitoba's Phased Approach

Business Resources:
Guidelines; Manitoba Protection
Plan and Public Health
Orders

New Brunswick

Description
 Resources

New Brunswick’s COVID-19 response plan uses four distinct public health alert levels to ensure the continued economic and social well-being of the province.

Current status: Alert Level Yellow

All types of businesses and activities are allowed to operate with a COVID-19 operational plan. Record-keeping for seated venues is a requirement. Uncontrolled indoor or outdoor gatherings may proceed, with physical distancing, but should be kept at 50 people or fewer. Face masks remain mandatory in public spaces when physical distancing is not possible.

Alert Level Green: Timing TBD

This phase will likely come after a vaccine and herd immunity or effective clinical treatment is available, or more is learned about how to protect people from the virus.

 

Main Page:
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Plan:
NB's Recovery Plan

Business Resources:
Public health measures for businessesWorkSafeNB

Newfoundland and Labrador

Description
 Resources

Newfoundland and Labrador’s plan, "A Foundation for Living with COVID-19", has five alert levels, as determined by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Current status: Alert Level 2

On June 24, Newfoundland and Labrador entered Alert Level 2. The focus of Alert Level 2 is to control the transmission of COVID-19, while supporting the reopening of more businesses, increasing social activities, and maintaining health system capacity. Businesses are able to open and operate provided that social distancing and public health guidelines are followed. Gatherings run by a recognized business or organization are expanded to 100 people and gatherings that are not run by a recognized business or organization are permitted for up to 50 people, in both cases as long as physical distancing can be maintained and restrictions complied with. Strict travel restrictions remain in place.

Alert Level 1: Timing TBD

Alert Level 1 will effectively be the “new normal”. Consideration of lifting long-term public health measures will depend on evaluation of transmission patterns of COVID- 19, availability of an effective vaccine or treatment and a fully prepared public health system.

Main Page:
Covid-19

Plan:
NL Life with COVID
Alert Level2

Business Resources:
Guidance on Travel Restrictions; Guidance and Information Sheets for Businesses and Workplaces; Public Health Orders

Northwest Territories

Description
 Resources

The Northwest Territories plan, “Emerging Wisely”, takes a five-phase approach that progressively eases restrictions on people, businesses and specific types of activity.

Current status: Phase 2

Phase 2 was implemented on June 12, 2020. Many businesses are permitted to open and operate in this phase, subject to compliance with social distancing and public health guidance. Gatherings are limited to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors, provided in both cases that social distancing can be maintained. Activities that are not permitted and businesses that must remain closed include performance theatres, music and community festivals, colleges, trade schools, adult classes, pools, gymnastics clubs and common-use gymnasiums.

Phase 3: Timing TBD

In order to initiate Phase 3, all Phase 2 steps must have been successfully implemented, rapid-testing must have been implemented, community spread must remain limited, a strong system of contact tracing must be in place and a second surge of infections in Canada and the United States must have come and gone.

Phase 4: Timing TBD

All remaining public health measures may be lifted if a vaccine for COVID-19 has been approved and produced and a successful vaccination program has been implemented for vulnerable populations. Alternatively, public health measures may also be lifted if an effective treatment is approved and widely available.

 

Main Page:
GNWT's Response to COVID-19

Plan:
Emerging Wisely

Business Resources:
Emerging Wisely for Business
Public Health Orders


Nova Scotia

Description
 Resources

Nova Scotia did not implement a phased reopening plan. Instead, the province has gradually been relaxing various measures that were put in place to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

Businesses, organizations and health professions that were required to close under the Health Protection Act Order can reopen, provided that they follow the Order and their respective sector-specific plans. They also need to have a Workplace COVID-19 Prevention Plan. Indoor and outdoor gathering limits are in place (the precise limits depend on whether the event is run by a recognized business/organization or not). Non-essential travel is discouraged and anyone who travels from outside Atlantic Canada into Nova Scotia must self-isolate for 14 days.

Main Page:
Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Plan:
Reopening

Restrictions:
COVID-19: restriction updates

Business Resources:
Working and businesses; Guidance

Nunavut

Description
 Resources

Nunavut’s plan is based on Nunavummiut experience: "When we travel on the land, our path forward is never a straight line. There are trails to find, and obstacles to overcome. Even when the route ahead looks clear, conditions can change at a moment’s notice. Because of this uncertainty, Nunavummiut [the people of Nunavut] know when to pause, when to re-assess, and even when to turn back. The goal is to reach the destination safely, not quickly".

Rather than relying on a predetermined series of phases, Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer will make decisions on what public health measures may be lifted or changed, that take into account the territory’s unique geography and culture.

Current Measures (as of August 10, 2020)

Most businesses are permitted to open and operate, subject to compliance with social distancing and public health guidance. Limits on gatherings are set at 50 (outdoor) and 10 (indoor). There is a separate limit of 50 people or 50% capacity for gatherings at places of worship, conference facilities, community halls, rental meeting spaces, and governmental gatherings. Significant travel restrictions are in place for the territory.

 

Main Page:
COVID-19

Plan:
Nunavut’s Path: moving forward during COVID-19

Business Resources:
Guidelines; Travel restrictions; Public Health Orders

Ontario

Description
 Resources

Ontario’s “Framework for Reopening Our Province” has three phases: (1) Protect and Support, (2) Restart and (3) Recover. The province is currently in Phase 2.

Phase 2 of the Framework is broken down into three stages. Public health officials carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.

Current status: Restart Phase – Stage 3 (except Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region)

The province’s health regions began to proceed to Stage 3 of the Restart phase on July 17, 2020. While all regions had been at Stage 3 during the late summer and early fall, as of October 10, 2020, the cities of Ottawa and Toronto and the Region of Peel (including the cities of Mississauga and Brampton) have reverted to a modified Stage 2 for at least 28 days. Some details of what Stage 2 entails are provided below.

According to the Minister of Finance, about 99% of businesses are able to operate in Stage 3, provided that they are in compliance with physical distancing and other safety requirements. Businesses and commercial activities that are not approved for reopening in Stage 3 include amusement parks and water parks, buffet-style food services, dancing at restaurants and bars (other than professional performers following specific requirements), overnight stays at children’s camps, private karaoke rooms, sporting activities involving prolonged or deliberate contact, saunas, steam rooms, bathhouses, oxygen bars and casino table games.

Businesses are generally subject to indoor and outdoor gathering limits. In Stage 3, these limits are 50 (indoor) and 100 (outdoor). Physical distancing and other safety requirements must be met. Childcare businesses are able to operate at Stage 3 with cohorts of 15 children. As of October 3, 2020, there are additional requirements for businesses in the cities of Ottawa and Toronto and in the Region of Peel (which includes Mississauga, Brampton and other municipalities). While the Government of Ontario announced reductions to the indoor and outdoor gathering limits in certain regions of the province on September 17, 2020, those reductions apply to private gatherings rather than to commercial businesses.

In Stage 2, to which Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region have returned as of October 10, 2020, the gathering limits are reduced to 10 (indoor) and 25 (outdoor). Restaurants, bars and other food-service establishments are not permitted to operate indoors. Indoor businesses such as gyms, fitness centres, gaming establishments and cinemas are closed. For other requirements, see the October 9, 2020 Government of Ontario release listed in the “Resources” column at right.

Phase 3 – “Recover”: Timing TBD

Ontario will remain in Phase 2 until the post-pandemic period that will likely coincide with the availability of a vaccine or treatment. At that point the “Recover” phase will begin, with a focus on economic issues.

 

Main Page:
COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario

Plan:
A Framework for Reopening our Province; Reopening Ontario
Stage Two Return: Additional Public Health Measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region (October 9, 2020)

Business Resources:
Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace

SE Posts:
Ontario’s Bill 195: A New Framework for the Province’s COVID-19 Response Takes Effect (July 31, 2020)
Ontario’s Bill 195: A New Framework for the Province’s COVID-19 Response Takes Effect (July 31, 2020)
Ontario's Economic Re-opening: The Latest Developments (Last updated July 13, 2020)
Ontario Announces Reopening Strategy as COVID-19 Situation Stabilizes (April 27, 2020)

Prince Edward Island

Description
 Resources

Prince Edward Island’s “Renew PEI Together” plan has four phases, with a progressive lifting of public health measures on individuals, communities and organizations over three-week periods. Progression will be gradual and constantly evaluated based on the latest information from PEI’s Chief Public Health Officer. Progress may be slowed, halted or even reversed, as circumstances require.

Current status: Phase 4

Phase 4 was implemented on June 26, 2020. In this phase, most businesses are able to open and operate, provided that extra safety precautions and physical distancing measures are in place. All businesses and organizations must have operational plans in place. Larger organized gatherings, such as those related to sports and recreation, day camps, weddings, funerals, burials and worship services are permitted to have up to three cohorts of no more than 50 people indoors or outdoors, subject to certain pre-approvals and restrictions. Personal gathering limits remain at 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors. Travel restrictions in place, including a pre-travel approval process for non-essential travel.

Main Page:
COVID-19

Plan:
Renew PEI Together
Renew PEI Together Chart of Phases

Business Resources:
Guidance; Renew for Business; Travel Restrictions

Quebec

Description  Resources

The Government of Quebec has established four levels of restrictions, symbolized by the colours (in order of severity) green, yellow, orange and red.

Under Quebec’s legislation, there are parameters and requirements around physical distancing, gatherings and additional rules for certain activities in certain sectors. Workplaces must give preference to working remotely from home. All workplaces must comply with the health regulations issued by the public health authorities and the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST). The CNESST has developed tools for employers as set out on its site and employers are encouraged to use them.

Current status: Alert levels increasing in many regions

As of June 25, 2020, the Government of Quebec announced the resumption of activities in all sectors other than: (i) festivals and major events; (ii) regular holiday
camps with a stay (except for special needs persons), and (iii) combat in a sporting context. However, on October 1, 2020, after a resurgence in the province’s coronavirus case count, the Government reimposed some restrictions that had previously been lifted. In particular, Quebec’s largest urban centres, Montreal and Quebec, have been raised to Level 4 (“Red”). This designation requires the closing of many businesses, including bars, casinos, movie theatres and restaurants (except take-out and delivery orders). Many other regions of the province have been raised to Level 3 (“Orange), under which the above businesses are generally permitted to remain open with significant restrictions on the numbers of persons they may serve at one time.

Main Page:
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Quebec

Plan:
Gradual resumption of activities under the COVID-19-related pause

Business Resources:
COVID‑19 TOOLKIT (the Guide)

SE posts:
Québec Announces Regional and Province-wide Restrictions in Response to COVID-19 Resurgence (Last updated October 8, 2020)
Québec Reopens Most Sectors (Last updated July 28, 2020)
Gradual resumption of activities in Quebec: The Latest Developments (Last updated June 22, 2020)
Quebec Announces Additional Delay to Reopen Retail Stores in Greater Montréal Area and Provides Clarity on Direct Exterior Access  (May 5, 2020)
Quebec Announces Gradual Reopening Strategy as COVID-19 Situation Stabilizes (April 28, 2020)

Saskatchewan

Description
 Resources

The "Re-Open Saskatchewan" Plan has five phases. The timing and range of businesses and workplaces included in each phase are subject to change based on a continuous assessment of transmission patterns and other factors.

Current status: Phase 4

Phase 4 began on June 22, 2020. Restrictions were gradually lifted through the phase with most businesses being able to open and operate provided that extra safety precautions and physical distancing measures are in place. Indoor and outdoor gatherings may have a maximum of 30 people provided a two-metre separation can be maintained between individuals who are not in the same household, unless an alternative gathering size for a specific event or activity is permitted.

Phase 5 – Date TBD
At Phase 5, the lifting of long-term restrictions would be considered.

Main Page:
COVID-19

Plan:
Reopen Saskatchewan Plan

Business Resources:
List of Critical Public Services and Allowable Businesses; Public Health Orders; Guidelines


   

Yukon

Description
 Resources

Yukon’s “A Path Forward” adopts a four-phase approach to lifting COVID-19 restrictions. The principles that will guide decisions on easing restrictions are based on public health advice and best practices, as adapted to Yukon’s local context.

Current status: Phase 3

Yukon entered Phase 3 on August 1, 2020. Businesses are able to open and operate provided that extra safety precautions and physical distancing measures are in place and that public health guidelines are followed. Gatherings are limited to 10 (indoors) and 50 (outdoors). Planned, seated events in rented venues can have 50 (indoors) and 100 (outdoors). Certain visitors travelling to Yukon will be required to self-isolate upon entry.

Phase 4: Timing TBD

Yukon will move to Phase 4 once a vaccine is ready or a satisfactory alternative public health approach is available.

Main Page:
COVID-19 information

Plan:
A Path Forward

Business Resources:
Guidelines and Resources