News Article

March 27 COVID-19 Update

March 27, 2020

COVID-19 Update - March 27

During the COVID-19 pandemic we will be providing daily updates to our members with concise, relevant information they need for their businesses, employees and personal health.

For a list of industry resources, government programs, FAQs and more, visit our dedicated COVD-19 website at

For more frequent updates please follow us on Twitter @WCANews.

For past editions of these bulletins please visit the News section on our website.

If you have any questions about the pandemic, please email our COVID-19 hotline at

Updates to federal supports for small and medium businesses

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today updates to several measures he had previously introduced designed to help small and medium businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic. The updates include

Increasing the temporary wage subsidy from 10% to 75%

To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers and medium employers a wage subsidy to keep employees on the payroll during this pandemic. Today the Prime Minister announced this wage subsidy will be increased to 75% and will be back-dated to March 15. The subsidy will be available for up to three months.

We expect details, including which businesses are eligible and the per-employee limit, on Monday March 30. Watch this space for updates.

Canada Emergency Business Account

The Prime Minister announced small and medium businesses will be eligible for loans of up to $40,000 which will be interest-free for one year, and with up to the first $10,000 being forgivable. 

To qualify, organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

The loans will be provided by financial institutions and back-stopped by the government.

Business Credit Availability Program

The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide $12.5 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses. This will be an effective tool for helping viable Canadian businesses remain resilient during these very uncertain times. BDC and EDC are cooperating with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation and tourism.

Businesses interested in accessing the BCAP should first contact their financial institution, which will contact BDC and/or EDC where appropriate.

All this information and more can be found here. We'll update that page as more details become available.

CCA Releases Standardized Protocols for Canadian Construction Sites

While we have already published the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba's Best Practices for construction sites during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Construction Association has just released its own set of guidelines.

You can find the document, titled COVID-19 - Standardized Protocols for All Canadian Construction Sites, here.

WCB Premium Deferrals

The Workers Compensation Board is providing relief measures for employers to help reduce financial burdens during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures include:

  • Allowing companies to defer premium payments until the end of May
  • Waiving late payment penalties until further notice
  • Extending the payroll reporting deadline until the end of May
  • Ensuring that coverage remains acitve for accounts that choose to defer payments until the end of  May

For more information and details, please see this document from WCB.


Public gatherings reduced to 10 people - does this affect businesses?

During today's regular Manitoba Health briefing, Chief Provincial Health Office Brent Roussin announced that public gatherings are now limited to no more than 10 people (down from 50). Roussin explicitly stated that this does not apply to work places. However, he said social distancing strategies (keeping 2 metres apart) and ensuring employees are regularly washing their hands, should continue.

Province Announces Temporary Exception to Employment Standards Layoff Rules

In order to provide more flexibility to employers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the province has announced temporary amendments to employment standards layoff rules. The changes essentially allow for a longer layoff period than the legislation currently allows, which will let employers quickly recall laid-off employees once we're past the crisis.

For full details, click here to read the release from the province.


Using Disinfectants correctly & steps for high touch areas

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters have put together a useful resource on how to properly disinfect and clean surfaces to eliminate the threat of COVID-19. Click here to access the resource.