Manitoba Issues Updated Public Health Orders Imposing Self-Isolation for Persons Entering Manitoba and Removing Restrictions on Travel to Northern Manitoba and Remote Communities

This blog was originally published on April 21, 2020. It has been updated to reflect the changes that have been proposed as of July 21, 2020.

On April 17, 2020, the Government of Manitoba issued two new public health orders under The Public Health Act (Manitoba) imposing mandatory self-isolation for all persons entering Manitoba and restricting northern travel within the province.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, both orders have been modified and extended.

UpdateOn July 21, 2020, the Government of Manitoba released the Restoring Safe Services: Phase Four Draft Plan, which can be accessed here. In the draft plan, the Government of Manitoba proposed to lift all self-isolation travel requirements as to allow residents from all Canadian jurisdictions to visit Manitoba without having to self-isolate for 14 days. On July 23, following public engagement and consultation, the phase four plan was finalized. In light of the public feedback received, the province has decided to defer changes to the current travel restrictions to a later date. In this connection, the phase three public health guidance continues to be in effect, including 14-day self-isolation requirements for those traveling into Manitoba from eastern and southern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.  The province has indicated that its public health officials will review possible adjustments on a week-by-week basis and make any additional changes based on the public health situation at the time. Our blog detailing the finalized phase four plan can be accessed here.

On June 26, 2020, further changes to both orders were announced and took effect:

  • The self-isolation order previously issued on June 18 was terminated and replaced by the updated self-isolation order issued June 25 (the “Updated Self-Isolation Order”). Effective June 26, persons entering Manitoba to visit a family member or friend in a health-care facility with a life-threatening illness/injury may leave self-isolation if the applicable health-care facility has authorized the visit and the visitor is not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.
  • The Chief Provincial Public Health Officer issued an order removing all restrictions on travel to northern Manitoba (north of the 53rd parallel) and remote communities. More information on this change can be found below in the Updated Northern Travel Order section.

More details respecting the province’s multi-phased reopening plan can be found in our blog, “Manitoba’s Plan for Reopening Businesses”.

As detailed in the summary below, the Updated Self-Isolation Order may impact employers operating in Manitoba, as well as employers from other Canadian jurisdictions with employees who travel to and from, and within, Manitoba. While the order alleviates some of the restrictions on inter-provincial labour mobility, the restriction has not been removed in its entirety. Further, the Updated Self-Isolation Order does not eliminate the need for employers in Manitoba to continue to monitor and assess the health of their workforce, including workers travelling into Manitoba from out of province, so as to diligently prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Update: On July 21, 2020, the government of Manitoba released the Restoring Safe Services: Phase 4 Draft Plan, which can be accessed here. The Government of Manitoba is proposing to lift all self-isolation travel requirements as to allow residents from all Canadian jurisdictions to visit Manitoba without having to self-isolate for 14 days. The Government of Manitoba is seeking feedback from the public on its draft phase four plan and is encouraging Manitobans to complete a survey, which can be accessed here. Note that international visitors will still need to follow federal self-isolation requirements as per the federal Quarantine Act.

The Updated Self-Isolation Order

Effective June 26, 2020, the Updated Self-Isolation Order requires that any person entering Manitoba, including persons arriving from other provinces or territories in Canada, must self-isolate for 14 days or, if they are in Manitoba for less than 14 days, for the duration of their time in Manitoba.

Persons entering Manitoba who are required to self-isolate for 14 days must travel directly to the home, hotel or residence in which they intend to reside for the 14-day isolation period or duration of their stay if it is less than 14 days.

Persons self-isolating may only leave their home, hotel or residence to receive urgent/emergency medical care, attend a medical appointment that cannot be postponed or undertake essential errands where home delivery is not possible. If an individual leaves their residence for an above stated reason, they must maintain physical distancing of two metres from other persons and immediately return to their residence upon completing the appointment/errand.

If a person subject to the Updated Self-Isolation Order develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must immediately contact a health care provider.

However, the Updated Self-Isolation Order does not apply to the following individuals:

  • Manitoba residents who have travelled to Western Canada or northwestern Ontario, if they have not travelled outside of Western Canada or northwestern Ontario and are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • residents of Western Canada or northwestern Ontario, if they have not travelled to another country or any part of Canada outside of Western Canada or northwestern Ontario in the 14-day period immediately before entering or arriving in Manitoba and are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • players, coaches, managers, training and technical staff and medical personnel employed by or affiliated with a professional sports team based in Manitoba, if they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • the cast and crew and other persons directly involved in a film production, if they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • persons who are transporting goods and materials into or through Manitoba, if they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • aircraft and train crew members, if they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • persons who are engaged in providing vital services in Manitoba, including health-care providers, police officers, emergency services personnel, corrections officers, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, social service workers, and elected officials and their staff;
  • persons engaged in the construction or maintenance of critical infrastructure in Manitoba, if they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • persons engaged in the construction or maintenance of any building, structure or other project, if the failure to complete the construction or maintenance on a timely basis would pose a threat to persons, property or the environment and they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • persons who are travelling into Manitoba to facilitate shared parenting arrangements, if they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • persons travelling into Manitoba for emergency medical purposes; or
  • persons who have completed the period of isolation required under an emergency order made under the Quarantine Act (Canada) elsewhere in Canada, if they travel directly to Manitoba immediately after their required period of isolation ends.

“Western Canada” includes British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, and “northwestern Ontario” is the region of Ontario to the west of Terrace Bay.

In addition, a person entering Manitoba to visit a family member or friend who is in a health-care facility with a life-threatening illness/injury is required to self-isolate. However, they may leave the home, hotel or other residence where they are self-isolating to visit their family member or friend if the applicable health-care facility has authorized the visit and the visitor is not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.

The province has indicated that consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis to ease the restrictions for certain sectors where proposed plans for necessary travel are deemed satisfactory to address public health requirements.

Note however that persons travelling to Manitoba from outside of Canada are required to abide by the self-isolation requirements under the federal Quarantine Act.

The Updated Northern Travel Order

Effective June 26, the province has removed all restrictions on travel to northern Manitoba and remote communities. The Chief Provincial Public Health Officer issued an order on June 25 terminating the previous order of June 18. The Updated Northern Travel Order can be accessed here.

Since April 17, the government of Manitoba has issued public health orders under The Public Health Act (Manitoba) restricting northern travel within the province. With certain exemptions, Manitobans were originally not permitted to travel to northern Manitoba (defined as north of the 53rd parallel) and remote communities, which are communities not connected to the provincial highway system by a year-round all-weather road.

Effective May 29, restrictions were eased to allow Manitobans to travel to a cottage, cabin, provincial park, campground or hunting or fishing lodge in northern Manitoba or a remote community. Effective June 21, residents of Western Canada and northwestern Ontario were also permitted to travel to a cottage, cabin, provincial park, campground or hunting or fishing lodge in northern Manitoba or a remote community.

In the order issued June 25, the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer stated that conditions have evolved and the prohibitions and restrictions contained in the previous order are not currently required.

Anyone travelling to northern Manitoba should continue to respect any restrictions that have been put in place by local and First Nations communities.

MLT Aikins LLP will continue to monitor for further amendments made to public health directives. Employers considering the impact of these orders should contact a member of our labour and employment team.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.