News Article

March 18 COVID-19 Update

March 18, 2020

COVID-19 Update - March 18


Federal Government COVID-19 Response – E.I. and Business Support

This week the Government of Canada announced measures designed to support the economy in maintaining the current workforce where possible and support those who have lost or reduced work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures include:

  • Short-term support for employees via E.I. changes and the new Emergency Care Benefit

  • Longer-term income support via the Emergency Support Benefit and the EI Work Sharing Program

  • A temporary wage subsidy to help small employers keep their staff on the payroll

  • Flexibility for businesses filing taxes

  • Access to credit for businesses through the Business Credit Availability Program

The new E.I. measures mean it’s extremely important that employers are aware of which EI code employers enter on their record of employments to laid-off employees.

  • If an employee was sick or quarantined, employers must use Code D 

  • If an employee was laid off do a shortage of work or company shut down, employers must use Code A

While details for all of these programs are not completely clear at this time, we have compiled the most up-to-date information we have as of today (March 18) in a report - click here to view it.

It's important to note that these measures are changing from day-to-day and even from hour-to-hour. For the latest updates, look for emails coming from this newsletter, visit the news section at or follow us on Twitter @WCANews.

Should I be shutting down my business?

While many businesses, including restaurants, salons and other service-based industries, are shutting down or reducing services, it's not recommended that Manitoba businesses need to close their doors at this time.

There are, however, several measures businesses can take to help the social distancing effort going on right now to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These include:

Allowing and encouraging employees to work from home

Giving employees the opportunity to work from home helps prevent the spread of the disease through your organization, gives workers peace of mind and supports social distancing.

Ensuring employees are following proper hygiene protocols

We've all heard it a million times over the past month, but washing your hands, coughing into your elbow and staying home when sick are all critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Managing schedules to prevent groups from congregating

This can be particularly effective on job sites with multiple contractors. See what you can do to minimize unnecessary physical proximity between workers - consider staggering breaks so people don't congregate in one place at one time.

Look into protocols for the sharing of tools, equipment, workstations, etc.

While sharing is usually caring, at this point in time we should be limiting shared equipment as much as possible. If sharing is necessary, ensure that equipment is being properly sanitized after each use.

Use technology to prevent meetings in person

While today's times are definitely trying, the amount of technology at our disposal has never been greater. Use Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts or other similar technologies instead of holding meetings in person.

City of Winnipeg suspends property inspections

Earlier today, we noted that the City of Winnipeg was suspending inspections starting on Thursday, March 19. The city has reached out to clarify how permitting and inspections will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic:

 We are focused on the public safety aspect during this time period.

  • Some work can be done remotely as noted (typically deficiency updates), but we are looking to provide service continuity.
  • Staff are expected to show up on the job site and do their regular inspections at the current time with suitable precautions.
  • Contractors and residents will contact the Department and appointments scheduled.
  • Inspections are still underway.

WCA will continue to update our members on any changes to the permitting or inspection process.

Get in touch with us

We'll be here for our members through every step of this pandemic. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at or 204-775-8664.