Articles & Media


COVID-19 and Interprovincial Travel

24-Mar-20

By McLennan Ross Labour & Employment Team

Recently a number of provinces and territories have issued orders or Special Measures restricting interprovincial travel. These interprovincial travel restrictions vary from province to province and many have exceptions for certain types of travel, in particular for the commercial transportation of goods and services.

Employers should be aware of these new restrictions, and how they will impact their employees and operations. Employees who must self-isolate for 14 days are not permitted to attend the workplace, but they could work from home, if possible.

If an employee cannot work due to self-isolation, then they may be eligible for EI Sickness Benefits. More information on EI can be found here.

Other considerations for employers regarding EI can be found here.

We have prepared information on how to properly code a Record of Employment here.

A brief summary of the travel restrictions currently in place in each province and territory is set out below. However, as the COVID-19 situation evolves, these restrictions may change. As such, we would advise contacting counsel if you have employees crossing inter-provincial borders.

British Columbia

  • Has not currently implemented an interprovincial travel ban.

Alberta

  • Has not currently implemented an interprovincial travel ban.

Saskatchewan

  • On March 18, 2020 the Government of Saskatchewan declared a provincial state of emergency that included the following measure:
    • Residents are advised to limit any non-essential travel outside of Saskatchewan, with the exception of people who live in border communities and are commuting for work.

Manitoba

  • As of March 23, 2020, Public Health Officials are strongly advising Manitobans, including health-care providers, to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel.  This includes international travel and travel within Canada.  There should be no recreational, tourist, or non-essential personal travel.  In addition, effective immediately, public health officials are recommending that anyone who returns from travel, either international or domestic, should self-isolate and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days following their return.
  • This recommendation does not include:
    • the commercial transportation of goods and services;
    • workers, including health-care workers, who live in a neighbouring jurisdiction and travel to Manitoba for work; or
    • normal personal travel in border communities, including visits to a cottage.

Ontario

  • Has not currently implemented an interprovincial travel ban.
  • On March 23, 2020, the Government of Ontario ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 11:59 pm for 14 days. There is a large list of businesses permitted to remain open.

Quebec

  • Has not currently implemented an interprovincial travel ban, but the government is strongly recommending that there be no travel between cities or regions.
  • On March 23, 2020, the Government of Quebec ordered that all businesses, with the exception of essential services, close as of the evening of March 24, 2020, for three weeks.

Newfoundland

  • On March 20, 2020, the Chief Medical Officer of Health declared that all individuals arriving in Newfoundland and Labrador from outside the province must self-isolate for 14 days.
  • The Order contains an exemption for offshore oil workers, mining workers, hydro-electric workers, and transportation and trade employees, provided they are asymptomatic.

Nova Scotia

  • On March 22, 2020, a public state of emergency was declared. As of March 23, 2020, at 6:00 a.m., all persons entering the province are to be checked at the border, with the exception of emergency personnel and the commercial transportation of goods and services. The state of emergency will be in effect for 14 days.
  • The Government of Nova Scotia website directs that Nova Scotians should not leave the province and that borders will tighten.

Prince Edward Island

  • The Government of Prince Edward Island website states that people are to “stop all non-essential travel outside of Prince Edward Island.”
  • The Chief Public Health Officer has also directed that everyone travelling to PEI from a different province is to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • There are exceptions for essential workers, such as health care workers, truck drivers, airline crews, essential frontline workers in the public or private sector, and workers in critical sectors.

New Brunswick

  • Has not currently implemented an interprovincial travel ban.

Nunavut

  • On March 15, 2020, the Chief Public Health Officer advised travelers arriving to Nunavut from any destination to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
  • Additionally, anyone who travelled into Nunavut on or since March 15, 2020, needs to self-isolate for 14 days.

Northwest Territories

  • On March 21, 2020, the Chief Public Health Officer issued a Public Health Order that closes the NWT border and prohibits everyone from entering the territory, except the following, among others:
    • NWT residents returning home;
    • Workers importing/exporting goods or providing supply chain services;
    • Flight crews;
    • Essential services workers or supporting workers;
    • Medical travelers from Nunavut;
    • Transient workers in the mineral and petroleum resources industry; and
    • Workers involved in government capital infrastructure projects.
  • NWT residents returning home must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the NWT in either Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River, or Fort Smith. A self-isolation plan must be completed and approved by a Public Health Officer.
  • Import/export, supply chain, and flight crew workers must self-monitor and abide by social distancing guidelines established by the Chief Public Health Officer. These workers must immediately self-isolate and contact a Public Health Officer if they exhibit symptoms.
  • Essential services workers and their support staff must self-monitor and contact Public Health for directions.
  • The Public Health Order remains in effect until further notice.

Yukon

Has not currently implemented an interprovincial travel ban.

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