Back to Work and Re-opening Plans

This page has information on the economic re-opening plans of Canada’s provincial and territorial governments. Please note that the resources listed are for informational purposes only and do not reflect all of the legal requirements that may be applicable to your business in the jurisdiction. For specific questions about reopening your business and bringing employees back to the workplace, please contact your Stikeman Elliott representative. Last updated June 26, 2020.


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



The relaunch strategy, dubbed “Opening Soon” sets out a staged approach to returning to normal living. Physical distancing requirements, and limitations on the size of public gatherings will continue to be in place throughout all stages of the recovery plan.  Construction, manufacturing and natural resources sectors will continue to be permitted to operate throughout all stage of the relaunch strategy. 

Stage 1 – May 14
Alberta entered Stage 1 of its relaunch strategy as planned on May 14, 2020. The specific details regarding the gradual reopening of certain classes of business are outlined in two Chief Medical Officer of Health orders. The CMHO orders provide a pathway for many Alberta businesses to open either immediately or over the coming weeks, with a relatively short list of business categories that must remain closed. Businesses that are eligible to reopen must comply with the guidelines set out in the CMOH orders.

The businesses that must remain closed are: personal service businesses (other than hairstyling and barber services); wellness service businesses; non-essential health services (unless provided by a regulated member of a college); businesses that offer or provide access to a recreational or entertainment facility; festival and event businesses; and schools (K-12). In Calgary and Brooks, the plan is to proceed in stages, as follows: May 14 - retail businesses, day-cares, museums and art galleries; May 25 - hair salons, barber shops, restaurants, bars and pubs; June 1 - same as the rest of Alberta: all businesses except those in the categories noted above.

Stage 2 – June 12
Additional businesses in this stage are able to reopen and resume operations, again with two metre physical distancing requirements. What must remain closed: social gatherings that exceed listed maximums; classes for K to G12 will resume September 2020; 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. Recommendations on remote working in Stage 2 appear to be lifted, although non-essential travel in Stage 2 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 control in place, including physical distancing. Recommendations on remote working in Stage 3 appear to be lifted, and non-essential travel in Stage 3 will no longer be discouraged.

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

Opening Soon (pdf); Alberta's Relaunch Strategy (web)

Business Resources:
Alberta Biz Connect

Press Release:
Alberta’s safely staged COVID-19 relaunch (April 30, 2020)

British Columbia

On May 6, 2020, British Columbia officially announced BC's Restart Plan, which lays out a phased approach for the province in order to balance rebuilding the economy with keeping the transmission rate of COVID-19 as low as possible. Response by the government of British Columbia has differed in several aspects from the rest of Canada. Particularly, most businesses were not required to close provided they could operate safely and adhere to applicable law.

Phase 1 - May 6, 2020
Essential services are operational. Many businesses providing non-essential services are permitted to remain open provided they adhere to health and safety guidelines.

Phase 2 - Started May 19, 2020
Under enhanced protocols, the retail sector, restaurants, cafes, pubs, hair salons, barbers and other personal service establishments will re-open or continue to operate provided they adopt and implement sector safety plans as they are finalized and comply with sufficient distancing measures.

Phase 3 - Started June 24, 2020
If transmission rates remain low or in decline, more enhanced protocols will be released pertaining to the re-opening of hotels and resorts, parks and select entertainment. Smart and safe travel is allowed within the province and in-person K-12 and post-secondary classes started.

Phase 4 - Timing to be determined
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 at least one of the following: wide vaccination; community immunity; or broad successful treatment.


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

BC's Restart Plan

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

Press Release:
Premier outlines plan to restart B.C. safely (May 6, 2020)



From the press release:

Phased Approach to Restoring Services

Restoring Safe Services:  Manitoba’s Pandemic Economic Recovery Roadmap consists of multiple phases. It is critical to note that the timing and specifics noted in each phase are subject to change, based on the advice of public health experts and a continuous assessment of transmission patterns and other factors.

Restoring Services (Phase One) – Beginning May 4

Critical public health measures and travel restrictions remain. Priority elective surgeries have been restarted, diagnostics screening will resume and some non-essential businesses will reopen but must limit occupancy to 50 per cent of normal business levels or one person per 10 square metres, whichever is lower. Services, businesses and venues include:

  • non-urgent surgery and diagnostic procedures;
  • therapeutic and medical services;
  • retail businesses;
  • restaurants – patio/walk-up services;
  • hair salons;
  • museums, galleries and libraries;
  • seasonal day camps; and
  • outdoor recreation and campgrounds.

The province will continually re-evaluate and adjust plans for further easing of secondary public health measures and may reintroduce others.

Restoring Services (Phase Two) – Beginning June 1

Critical public health measures and travel restrictions will remain. This includes mandatory self-isolation upon one's return to Manitoba and limits on travel to the north. Any changes made in this phase will depend on the evaluation of the previous phase. This includes:
  • expanded public gatherings
  • restaurants - dine-in services restored
  • film production reopened
  • sports activities allowed
  • personal services businesses

Restoring Services (Phase Three) – Beginning June 21

Changes in Phase 3 are in addition to those introduced in Phase One and Phase Two. Conditions outlined in earlier phases continue to apply and critical services can continue to operate. Changes in Phase 3 include:

  • expanded public gatherings
  • removing or increasing occupancy limits
  • lifting some travel restrictions
  • permitting additional businesses to open with
    certain restrictions
Restoring Safe Services Together: Manitoba's Phased Approach

Business Resources:

Press Release:
Premier Unveils Manitoba's Roadmap to Expanding Services Safely (April 29, 2020)

New Brunswick


From the press release:
The plan to re-open businesses, educational facilities, the health-care system, recreational activities, and cultural events will be guided by four distinct public health alert levels:

Red: The phase aimed at flattening the curve and containing the virus as quickly as possible.
Orange: The goal of this phase is to balance the reopening of social and economic settings while preventing a resurgence of transmission.

Yellow (Current Stage): The goal of this phase is to further increase the reopening of social and economic settings after the ability to control transmission has been demonstrated.
Green: This phase will likely come after a vaccine is available or more is learned about how to protect people from the virus.

The phased plan will allow health experts to monitor and evaluate the impact of the lifting of restrictions. At any time, restrictions that have been lifted may quickly be reinstated to protect public health. Restrictions may be put in place based on provincial, regional or local circumstances such as unlinked community outbreaks or cases that cannot be traced.

NB's Recovery Plan

Business Resources:
COVID-19 Guidance for Business

Press Release:
Some COVID-19 public health restrictions being lessened; no new cases (April 24, 2020)

Newfoundland and Labrador


From the press release:
The Chief Medical Officer of Health announced Newfoundland and Labrador’s plan for living with COVID-19. The plan, ‘A Foundation for Living with COVID-19’, includes five alert levels. Depending on which level the province is in, as determined by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health restrictions will be gradually relaxed.

On Monday, June 8, Newfoundland and Labrador entered Alert Level 3. The focus of Alert Level 3 is to control the transmission of COVID-19, while further relaxing public health measures. Public Health will carefully monitor each alert level to determine the pace at which restrictions can be relaxed or strengthened. Moving to another alert level depends on several factors including the number of new cases of COVID-19, an increase in community transmission, and health system capacity.

NL Life with COVID

Alert Level 3

Press Release:
Chief Medical Officer of Health Announces Plan for Living with COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador (April 30, 2020)

Public Advisory:
Newfoundland and Labrador to Enter Alert Level 3 Tomorrow (June 7, 2020)

Northwest Territories


From the Press Release:
The plan, titled Emerging Wisely, outlines where we are today, how we got here, and a five-part approach for gradually moving the territory from the containment measures in-place today through four phases of eased measures. The path includes progressively-eased restrictions on people, businesses, and activities important to residents. Beginning as soon as circumstances allow and rolling out over the next 12-18 months, the phases are as follows:

  • Current state: Containment
  • Relaxing Phase 1: First steps
  • Relaxing Phase 2: Next steps (Started June 12, 2020)
  • Relaxing Phase 3: Careful steps past the second wave
  • Final Measures Lifted
Included are descriptions of what requirements must be met to begin moving into each phase, what kinds of activities will be considered within each phase, and timeframes in which they can be expected (where they can be predicted). Notably, the plan introduces a new model for indoor visitation – the Friendship Circle – whose implementation will begin in phase one. The plan also highlights the measures which will need to be in place until a vaccine or effective treatment is widely available to NWT residents.


Emerging Wisely

Business Resources:
Emerging Wisely for Business

Press Release:
Path to Eased Public Health Restrictions Set By GNWT (May 12, 2020)

Nova Scotia


Measures put in place to help contain the spread of COVID-19 are gradually changing. As restrictions change, you need to continue to follow public health directives for gathering and social distancing. Limit your driving and enjoy what’s available in your local community.

3 July 2020: Travel within the Atlantic provinces is permitted without the requirement to self-isolate for Atlantic Canadian residents

18 June 2020: Outdoor playgrounds can reopen; family household bubbles are replaced with a 10-person gathering limit; gathering limit increased to 50 people for indoor and outdoor gatherings with social distancing.

15 June 2020: Provincial campgrounds open at a reduced capacity; Family daycare homes and licensed daycare facilities can reopen (subject to requirements).

12 June 2020: Day camps can open (subject to requirements)

5 June 2020: A number of businesses can reopen (subject to requirements): casinos; restaurants; bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms; personal services; fitness establishments; in-person or virtual health care services; veterinarians; privately operated campgrounds.

COVID-19: restriction updates

Business Resources:
COVID-19: working

Press Release:
Easing of Some Public Health Measures (May 1, 2020)



From the press release:
It is time for us to move forward. This does not mean that this pandemic is over. This does not mean that the threat has passed. This means that we can cautiously begin our return to the activities we enjoy, knowing that at any time we may need to change our behaviour to protect ourselves from emerging threats.

In the coming weeks, we will work with our stakeholders to re-introduce our businesses, our activities, and our programs in a way that is safe, sustainable, and poses the least risk to the health and safety of Nunavummiut. Know that as we begin to loosen restrictions internally, it is imperative that our strict border measures remain to minimize the risk of introducing COVID-19 into the territory. Moving forward, our plan is to re-assess our condition every two weeks. If the state of COVID in Nunavut is favorable, we will continue to lift public health measures, beginning with lower risk activities and programs. If our condition is stable, we may remain at the status quo until we are confident that lifting additional restrictions would not pose an undue risk to Nunavummiut. Finally, if the threat of COVID- 19 increases, or eased public health measures are posing a potential public health threat to the territory, we may need to introduce or re-introduce certain conditions.

Nunavut’s Path: moving forward during COVID- 19 – website; pdf

Press Release:
COVID-19 Department of Health Services update (May 25, 2020)



The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will 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.

Stage 1:  See our post for details on businesses that are allowed to operate in Stage 1 regions. Other parts of Phase 1 include opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.

Stage 2: As of June 24, the majority of Ontario’s public health regions were in Stage 2 of the reopening process. leaving Windsor-Essex as the only one of the province’s 34 public health regions to remain at Stage 1.

Stage 2 includes: outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments; personal care services such as hair salons, barbershops and tattoo parlours; shopping malls (under existing restrictions, e.g. against sit-down service at restaurants); tour and guide services (bus and boat tours, winery tours, etc.); private campgrounds; outdoor recreational facilities; drive-in and drive-through theatres, concert venues, animal attractions etc; film and TV production activities; weddings and funerals (with social gatherings limited to 10 people).

In all cases, businesses falling under these classifications will be required to ensure that health and safety measures
applicable to them are complied with.

Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.



SE Posts:
Ontario's Economic Re-opening: The Latest Developments (Last updated June 9, 2020)
Ontario Announces Reopening Strategy as COVID-19 Situation Stabilizes (April 27)

A Framework for Reopening our Province - website; pdf

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

Press Releases:
Ontario Unveils Guiding Principles to Reopen the Province (April 27, 2020)
Ontario Providing Employers with Workplace Safety Guidelines (April 30, 2020)
Certain Businesses Allowed to Reopen Under Strict Safety Guidelines (May 1, 2020)

Prince Edward Island


From the press release:
The plan will be implemented in four distinct phases with a progressive lifting of public health measures on individuals, communities and organizations over three-week periods. PEI is currently in Phase 4. Progression will be gradual and constantly evaluated based on the latest public health information from PEI’s Chief Public Health Office. Decisions during each phase will be based on public health evidence and continuous monitoring. If there are concerns about progressing into a next phase, progress will be slowed, halted or even reversed to continue to protect the health and safety of Islanders.

Renew PEI Together
Renew PEI Together Chart of Phases

Press Release:
Province outlines plans to “Renew PEI, Together” (April 28, 2020)


Description  Resources

As of June 25th, the Government of Québec 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. The ability to keep businesses open depends on the progression of the virus and the healthcare system’s ability to deal with it.

There are parameters and requirements around physical distancing, gatherings and additional rules for certain activities in certain sectors. Work places must give preference to working remotely from home. While most businesses can reopen, for many, it will still not be business as usual as a result of restrictions for health and safety purposes.

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 encourage to use them.


SE posts:
Québec Reopens Most Sectors (June 30 , 2020)
Gradual resumption of activities in Québec: The Latest Developments (Last updated June 22, 2020)
Québec Announces Additional Delay to Reopen Retail Stores in Greater Montréal Area and Provides Clarity on Direct Exterior Access  (May 5, 2020)
Québec Announces Gradual Reopening Strategy as COVID-19 Situation Stabilizes (April 28, 2020)

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

Business Resources:
COVID‑19 TOOLKIT (the Guide)



From the press release:             
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 campgrounds.

Phase Two – May 19, 2020
Re-opening retail and select personal care services.

Phase Three – June 8, 2020
Re-opening restaurants and food services, gyms and fitness centres, licensed establishments and child care facilities; re-opening remaining personal care services; re-opening places of worship; increasing indoor public and private gatherings to 15 people and outdoor gatherings to 30 people.

Phase Four – Started in Part June 22, 2020
Re-opening indoor and outdoor recreation facilities; increasing the size of indoor public and private gatherings to 30 people.

Phase Five – Date TBD
Consider lifting long-term restrictions. 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.

Reopen Saskatchewan Plan - pdf; website

Press Release:
Province Announces Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan (April 23, 2020)



From the press release:
A Path Forward presents a gradual and phased approach to lifting COVID-19 restrictions, with a focus on protecting communities and vulnerable residents, and on preventing the re-introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Yukon. The plan lays out the principles that will guide decisions on easing restrictions. They are based on public health advice and best practices across Canada adapted to fit Yukon’s local context.
The easing of restrictions is spread out over a number of phases. Yukon is currently in Phase 1. Moving to subsequent phases depends on meeting a set of clear criteria and conditions, including community engagement; keeping the ”6 steps to staying safe” preventative measures in place; controlling importation risk through border restrictions; maintaining health system and public health capacity; and continuing close monitoring of the current spread of the virus in and outside Yukon. Decisions around the timing for moving between phases in the plan will depend on risk assessment and the ongoing evaluation of success in maintaining stability and security at each phase.

A Path Forward - pdf; Website

Business Resources:
Guidelines and Resources

Press Release:
Plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions released with start of Phase I (May 15, 2020)