Manitoba Issues Public Health Orders Imposing Self-Isolation for Persons Entering Manitoba and Restricting Travel Within the Province

This blog was originally published on April 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 of April 30, 2020, the Self-Isolation Order for Persons Entering Manitoba (the “Self-Isolation Order”) was extended indefinitely and will remain in effect until terminated.

On May 29, 2020, the government of Manitoba amended and eased certain restrictions imposed on travel to northern and remote communities as outlined in the Updated Order Prohibiting Travel to Northern Manitoba Communities (the “Updated Northern Travel Order”).  This order takes effect on June 1, 2020 and will also remain in effect until terminated.

As detailed in the summary below, both orders have significant impacts on employers operating in Manitoba, as well as employers from other Canadian provinces that have employees who travel to and from, and within, Manitoba. Employers should also be mindful of the other current public health orders in Manitoba, which we reviewed more fully in our blog, “Complying with Manitoba’s Public Health Orders: What it Means for Individuals and Businesses.”

Self-Isolation Order

The Self-Isolation Order provides that all persons entering or arriving in Manitoba (including persons entering or arriving from other provinces and territories in Canada) are required to self-isolate for 14 days or, if they are in Manitoba for less than 14 days, for the duration of their time in Manitoba.

Self-isolation may occur in a personal residence or hotel. Persons required to self-isolate under the order may only leave isolation to receive urgent/emergency medical care or to undertake essential errands where home delivery is not possible.

The Self-Isolation Order does not apply to the following individuals:

  • persons who are transporting goods and materials into or through Manitoba, 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, elected officials and their staff, as well as workers engaged in the construction or maintenance of critical infrastructure, 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 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;
  • Manitoba residents who regularly travel outside of Manitoba to areas that are “close to the Manitoba border to work, access health services, or for other essential purposes, including access to their property or business” if they: (i) are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19; (ii) restrict their travel outside Manitoba to the minimum required for the purpose of their visit; and (iii) limit their use of local services to the minimum required given the circumstances of their visit;
  • non-Manitoba residents who reside in areas that are “close to the Manitoba border and who regularly travel into Manitoba to work, access health services, or for other essential purposes, including access to their property or business” if they: (i) are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19; (ii) restrict their travel in Manitoba to the minimum required for the purpose of their visit; and (iii) limit their use of local services to the minimum required given the circumstances of their visit.

The Self-Isolation Order includes the ability to travel outside of Manitoba or into Manitoba in order to access property or a business that is “close to the Manitoba border”.

Updated Northern Travel Order

Similarly, the updated Northern Travel Order prohibits all travel to northern Manitoba (north of the 53rd parallel of latitude) and to remote communities that are not connected to the provincial highway system by a year-round all-weather road.

The Updated Northern Travel Order applies to the following area in Manitoba:

Image source: Hunt Fish Manitoba, Fishing Regions / North of 53

The Updated Northern Travel Order does not apply to the following individuals:

  • a person who resides in or is travelling to a northern Manitoba or a remote community to establish their permanent residence;
  • a person travelling to northern Manitoba or a remote community while providing services to or on the behalf of the federal or provincial government, crown corporation, or other government agency;
  • health care providers travelling to northern Manitoba and remote communities to provide health care services;
  • a person who owns, operates, or is employed by an essential business as outlined by the order to deliver goods and services normally provided by that business, or to engage in activities that the business normally conducts in northern Manitoba or a remote community;
  • a person travelling to northern Manitoba or a remote community to facilitate child custody arrangements or in the course of their duties with a child and family services authority; or
  • a person travelling to northern Manitoba or a remote community for emergency medical purposes.

The Updated Northern Travel Order also does not prohibit travel within northern Manitoba by residents of northern Manitoba and the above individuals.

Update: Effective June 1, 2020, the Updated Northern Travel Order provides that a Manitoba resident does not contravene the order if they travel to a cottage, cabin, provincial park, campground or hunting or fishing lodge in Northern Manitoba or a remote community if they (i) are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19; (ii) travel directly to their intended destination; and (iii) limit their use of local services to the minimum required given the circumstances.

MLT Aikins LLP will continue to monitor for further amendments, suspensions, or extensions to public health directives. Employers considering the impact of the Self-Isolation Order and Updated Northern Travel Order 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.