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Coronavirus in Canada: how to get tested, what the symptoms are, where to get help

Maclean's logo Maclean's 2020-03-20 Patricia Treble
a man holding a sign: A COVID-19 assessment centre in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/CP) © Used with permission of / © St. Joseph Communications. A COVID-19 assessment centre in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

NOTE: This post was originally published on March 12, and is being updated frequently with the most recent information from official federal and provincial sources. Because events are changing quickly, we are drawing not only from government websites but also Twitter feeds, press conferences and other sources. Last update was Friday, March 20, at 1 p.m.

As the coronavirus known as COVID-19 spreads in Canada, the sheer volume of information and misinformation about it can make it difficult to know exactly what is going on, and what to if you think you or someone near you could have the virus.

So Maclean’s has compiled information about the current situation in Canada, symptoms of COVID-19, who is most vulnerable to the virus, as well as self-isolation and notification details for each province and territory. We combed through the official coronavirus webpages of the federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as of the World Health Organization (WHO), which published a preliminary report on the outbreak in China. Sources are noted throughout.

As each province and territory has its own health terminology—Telehealth Ontario vs. Health Link 811 in Alberta, for example—much of the wording is taken directly from their sites to avoid confusion.

An important note: this information is frequently revised and updated by authorities. This post, too, is being updated regularly, but we urge readers to click on the links, especially the official sites, for the latest.

Also, wash your hands with soap. Often.


Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus while the average is 5-6 days after infection (PHAC and WHO)

According to a World Health Organization report from the end of February on COVID-19 in China, symptoms in confirmed cases included:

  • Fever (88%)
  • Dry cough (68%)
  • Fatigue (38%)
  • Sputum production (33%)
  • Shortness of breath (19%)
  • Muscle or joint pain (15%)
  • Sore throat (14%)
  • Headache (14%)
  • Chills (11%)

March 20 update: According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, commonly reported symptoms among confirmed cases in Canada include cough (80%), fever (55%) and shortness of breath (26%).

The WHO report on COVID-19 in China found that:

  • 80% of patients experienced mild to moderate effects (fever, cough, maybe pneumonia—but not needing supplemental oxygen)
  • 14% suffered severe symptoms (requiring supplemental oxygen, including via a ventilator)
  • 1% were critical (respiratory failure, septic shock and/or organ dysfunction/failure)

Who is most vulnerable?

As of March 11, the Public Health Agency of Canada assessed the public health risk as LOW for the general population. But there is increased risk of more severe outcomes for those:

  • Aged 65 and over
  • With compromised immune systems
  • With underlying medical conditions or chronic diseases including:
  • diabetes
  • cancer
  • heart, renal or chronic lung disease (Ont.)

Those warnings follow the findings of that February WHO report on COVID-19 in China. According to the research team, the age difference among those affected was stark: 21.9 per cent of those over 80 years died, while just 2.4 per cent of all reported cases were children aged 18 and under (only 0.2 percent of those became critically ill).

As well, while 1.4 percent of COVID-19 patients with no other underlying conditions died, those with other conditions experienced much higher death rates:

  • cardiovascular disease (13.2%)
  • diabetes (8.4%)
  • hypertension (8.4%)
  • chronic respiratory disease (8%)
  • cancer (7.6%)

In more severe cases, public health authorities believe infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death (Sask). Yet, unlike the nature of influenza, pregnant women do not appear to be at a higher risk for the severe form of COVID-19, according to the WHO report.

If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms

Contact a care provider in your area to get tested (province-by-province contact information below). Staff in some jurisdictions, especially large cities, may direct you to special assessment centres set up for COVID-19 testing. There are some basic caveats to observe, though, before and after you get tested, as the B.C. site explains:

  • If it becomes harder to breathe, you can’t drink anything or feel much worse than when you got tested, seek immediate medical care at an urgent-care clinic or emergency department. If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 911 or the local emergency number immediately.
  • Call ahead before you get medical care. If leaving your home for care, call ahead and tell the clinic you are coming in and that you just had a COVID-19 test. By calling ahead, you help the clinic, hospital, lab, urgent care or doctor’s office prepare for your visit and stop the spread of germs. Remind each health care provider that is taking care of you that you are waiting for COVID-19 test results.
  • Self-isolate

The health-care professionals will need to know: a) your symptoms b) where you have been travelling or living c) if you had direct contact with animals, for example, if you visited a live animal market d) if you had close contact with a sick person, especially if they had a fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

How have Canadians exposed to COVID-19 been affected?

As of March 20 at 9 a.m., there were 846 cases so far in Canada: B.C. (271), Alberta (146), Saskatchewan (8), Manitoba (17), Ontario (258), Quebec (121), New Brunswick (7), Nova Scotia (5), Prince Edward Island (2), Newfoundland (1) and repatriated travellers (10), per the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC):

  • 10 people have died of COVID-19
  • 8% of ill individuals were hospitalized, including 3% in the ICU
  • 31% were 60 years old or over
  • 59% were travellers and 11% were close contacts of those travellers while 20% probably acquired COVID-19 in community settings (another 11% of cases are still pending)

(The above statistics are based on detailed data of 337 cases)

Federal government

Official site here.

Getting advice: The Public Health Agency of Canada has an information line about COVID-19 at 1-833-784-4397. It has interpretation services available in multiple languages.


Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada. recommends:

  • Postpone or cancel all non-essential travel outside of Canada.
  • practice social distancing
  • avoid large events and crowded spaces  with more than 50 people
  • keep a distance of two arms-length from others
  • if you must go out, avoid peak hours
  • if needed or possible, work from home.

As of March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada will:

  • ban foreign nationals from all countries except the United States from entering Canada. This measure does not apply to air crews, travellers arriving in Canada in transit to a third country, Canadian permanent residents, diplomats or immediate family members of Canadian citizens.
  • redirect international passenger flight arrivals to four airports:
    • Calgary International Airport
    • Vancouver International Airport
    • Toronto-Pearson International Airport
    • Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

This measure will not affect domestic flights or flights from the U. S., sun destinations (such as Mexico and the Caribbean), or St. Pierre and Miquelon, which can continue to operate on their regular routes and land at current Canadian destinations. The government is working closely with the airline industry and airports to avoid unnecessarily disrupting operations and to minimize the inconvenience to travellers.

For Canadians abroad

The Government of Canada is advising travellers arriving in Canada from any international destination, via airport or land port of entry, to self-isolate for 14 days after your return.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, all travellers returning to Canada from Hubei province of ChinaIran or Italy are advised to:

  • Self-isolate: stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including those in their home, for a total of 14 days from the date they left Hubei province or Iran
  • Contact the local public health unit within 24 hours of arriving in Canada
  • Contact your provincial/territorial/local health authorities if you experience symptoms of COVID-19

Advice from provincial and territorial governments, and where to get information

Specific information regarding self-isolation and reporting varies by province, so here are the breakdowns, using the wording from their own websites. Please note that new information is causing their risk assessments to be re-evaluated.

British Columbia

Official site for HealthLink BC here and BC Centre for Disease Control here.

COVID-19 self-assessment tool here

Getting help:

  • The province has created 1 888 COVID-19 to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about COVID-19. This includes the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing, as well as access to support and resources from the provincial and federal governments. 1 888 COVID-19 is available seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. in 110 languages.
  • The 811 number is also in place for medical-related COVID-19 questions.


A detailed list of advice and measures being introduced, as well as advice to travellers and other resources is in this information bulletin from March 19. The latest COVID-19 response bulletin can be found here, in the “Public Health Alerts” box.

On March 18, the province declared a state of emergency to support the COVID-19 response. The state of emergency is initially in effect for 14 days, and may be extended or rescinded as necessary. The state of emergency applies to the whole province.

  • The B.C. government is suspending K-12 learning in all classrooms. A decision on when and how to return will be made in partnership with school districts and independent schools.
  • BC Ferries will allow customers to remain in their vehicles on the enclosed car deck.
  • Effective immediately, businesses with liquor primary licences, such as bars, pubs and nightclubs, must close as they are unable to adequately meet the requirements of social distancing.
  • Restaurants and cafes that cannot maintain social distancing of one to two metres between patrons will need to move to take-out and delivery models.
  • B.C. is prohibiting all public gatherings of more than 50 people. This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings and other similar events.
  • The government is restricting visitors in long-term care to essential visits only. Essential visits include compassionate visits for end-of-life care and visits that support care plans for residents based on resident and family needs. For example: families who routinely visit to provide assistance with feeding or mobility.
  • Also, on the recommendation of the provincial health officer, the province has ordered all casinos to close until further notice to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • Authorities are asking employers to excuse staff for sick leave without requiring a doctor’s note, if their employees are ill or required to self-isolate.

If you start having symptoms of COVID-19, you need to begin self-isolation:

  • Isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible
  • Call your health care professional or contact HealthLinkBC (8-1-1)
  • Describe your symptoms and travel history. They will provide advice on what you should do.

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Official site here.

COVID-19 self-assessment tool here

Getting help: If you recently returned from travel outside Canada or have symptoms—cough, fever, fatigue or difficulty breathing:


On March 17, Alberta declared a public health emergency.

  • $50 million is being made available for Albertans who must self-isolate and do not have another source of pay or compensation while they are self-isolated. A one-time payment of $1,146 will be distributed to bridge the gap until the federal emergency payments begin in April. Applications for emergency isolation support will be available on next week.
  • To ensure Albertans continue to have access to essential medications and to help pharmacists address situations where some individuals are attempting to stockpile medication, the province is recommending pharmacies have the discretion to provide a maximum 30-day supply of prescription drugs.
  • Mass gatherings are limited to no more than 50 attendees. This is inclusive of places of worship, funerals and weddings, where Albertans must ensure appropriate social distancing and other sanitization practices.
  • Grocery stores, shopping centres, health care facilities, airports and other essential services are not included.
  • Any other organized gatherings of more than 50 people must be cancelled immediately.
  • All Albertans are prohibited from attending public recreational facilities and private entertainment facilities, including casinos, racing entertainment centres, and bingo halls.
  • They should also not attend any recreational facilities, gyms, arenas, science centres, museums, art galleries and community centres, fitness centres and swimming pools.
  • This prohibition also extends to attending bars and nightclubs, where minors are prohibited by law.
  • Sit-down restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, food courts and other food-serving facilities, including those with a minors-allowed liquor license, are limited to 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 50 people. Licensed facilities are permitted to deliver liquor
  • At this time, not-for-profit community kitchens, soup kitchens and religious kitchens are exempt, but sanitization practices are expected to be in place and support will be in place for this practice.
  • Alberta Health Services is postponing all scheduled and elective surgeries. Urgent and emergency surgery, as well as oncology and scheduled caesarean procedures will continue.
  • All non-urgent scheduled and elective surgeries in Alberta are being postponed. Alberta Health Services will be contacting Albertans scheduled for procedures and will reschedule as soon as possible. Urgent and emergency surgery, as well as oncology and scheduled caesarean (C-section) procedures will continue.
  • All non-emergency dental treatment and services are also suspended at this time. Emergency dental treatment will continue.
  • Effective March 18, all ski hills, including passenger ropeways like gondolas and chairlifts, are closed until further notice under the Safety Codes Act.
  • Government will implement a six-month, interest-free moratorium on student loan payments for all individuals who are in the process of repaying these loans.
  • The March-April and May-June intakes for apprenticeship training are cancelled.

To prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, among seniors and other vulnerable groups:

  • Only essential visits to any continuing care or long-term care facilities in Alberta are recommended.

Alberta Parks sites remain accessible, but the public is prohibited from using facilities within the parks. This includes toilets, picnic areas and park warm-up shelters. This is consistent with national parks.

Service Alberta has temporarily closed front counter, in-person access for some services in Edmonton and Calgary. Services remain operational and available, but Albertans should not visit the physical locations for Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, Corporate Registry and Land TitlesConsumer Investigations & Programs, and Surplus Sales. Call 310-0000 or visit for more information.

Changes to the Employment Standards Code will allow employees to take 14 days of paid, job-protected leave if they are:

  • required to self-isolate
  • sick or caring for a loved one with COVID-19

To be eligible, employees:

  • will not be required to have a medical note
  • do not need to have worked for an employer for 90 days
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Official site here

COVID-19 self-assessment tool here

Getting help: If you fit the criteria of potential exposure, are exhibiting mild symptoms and suspect you may have COVID-19, you can obtain a referral to a community testing centre by phoning:

  1. HealthLine 811 (204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257)
  2. Your local Public Health Communicable Disease Control office.
  3. Your family physician.


On March 18, the Government of Saskatchewan declared a provincial State of Emergency, giving the government broad powers to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Public gatherings larger than 50 people are prohibited.
  • All restaurants, bars and event venues must limit their seating to 50 per cent of capacity or up to a maximum of 50 people, whichever is lesser. All must be able to ensure social distance of one to two metres between customers. Retail spaces including grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are exempted from this policy but must have processes to maintain a one- to two-metre separation.
  • All gyms, fitness centres, casinos and bingo halls are ordered to close until further notice.
  • 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.
  • Any licensed restaurants and taverns in Saskatchewan will be permitted to sell alcohol as an offsale according to SLGA regulations indefinitely.
  • All crown utilities will implement bill-deferral programs allowing a zero-interest bill deferral for up to six months for Saskatchewan residents whose ability to make bill payments may be impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions.
  • All Government of Saskatchewan ministries, agencies and Crown corporations will implement a phased-in work-from-home policy effective Monday, March 23, applicable to employees deemed non-essential. This means that any employees able to work from home should do so immediately, while providing managers a period to plan for workforce continuity.
  • The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will be discontinuing all non-urgent/elective surgeries, procedures and diagnostics as of March 23.  This action will allow the SHA the ability to redeploy nurses and other staff and ensure medical supplies and personal protective equipment are available when needed and reduce risk of further exposure to our care providers and patients.
  • The SHA will continue to provide services to patients who require emergent and urgent care. Cancer, urgent and emergent surgeries will continue as planned. Patients will be contacted regarding their scheduled service.
  • Parents with children in daycares should be preparing for further restrictions.
  • All classes in Saskatchewan pre K-12 schools will be suspended indefinitely, effective March 20, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For the period of March 16 to March 19, pre K-12 classes will wind down.
  • The Chief Medical Health Officer orders that visitors to long-term care homes, hospitals, personal care homes and group homes are restricted to essential visitors only. Essential visitors means immediate family visiting for compassionate reasons.
  • SaskGaming will suspend operations and temporarily close Casinos Regina and Moose Jaw until further notice upon advice of public health officials on the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Royal Saskatchewan Museum is closed.

The Government of Saskatchewan introduced amendments to employment laws to ensure employees have access to job-protected leaves during a public health emergency.

The proposed changes:

  • to remove the requirement of 13 consecutive weeks of employment with the employer prior to accessing sick leave;
  • to remove the provision requiring a doctor’s note or certificate; and
  • introduction of a new unpaid public health emergency leave that can be accessed:
    • when the World Health Organization has determined that there is a public health emergency and the province’s chief medical health officer has also issued an order that measures be taken to reduce the spread of a disease; or
    • the province’s chief medical health officer has independently issued an order that measures be taken provincially to reduce the spread of a disease where it is believed there is sufficient risk of harm to citizens of the province.  The orders would also be made public to ensure everyone is aware of the direction.

The amendments to the Act would come into force retroactive to March 6, 2020.

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Official site here

COVID-19 self-assessment tool here

Getting help: Contact Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) if you’re experiencing symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus


Public health officials have advised suspending classes in Manitoba kindergarten to Grade 12 schools effective March 23 to April 10. This is being done to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

Licensed child-care centres will suspend services from the end-of-day on March 20 until April 10, based on advice from public health officials.

For health-care and longterm-care facilities and services:

  • Visitor access at all Manitoba hospitals has been suspended. Exceptions for compassionate reasons will continue to be made on a case-by-case basis but will adhere to vigilant screening. One visitor per patient may be admitted with the approval of individual facility managers in some departments.
  • For pediatric patients, one parent or guardian will be allowed to visit at a time following screening.
  • Public health officials are recommending the immediate suspension of visitors in long-term care facilities across Manitoba. Exceptions for compassionate reasons or end of life will be made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of individual facility managers.
  • It is recommended that adult day programs and similar programming located within long-term care or personal care facilities be immediately suspended.
  • CancerCare Manitoba is taking proactive measures to help reduce the impact of COVID-19. Starting Thursday, March 19, breast cancer screening services at BreastCheck will be suspended for at least two weeks. Clients will be notified directly to confirm that their appointments will be affected. Clients can call (toll-free) 1-855-95-CHECK (24325) if they have any questions or concerns.
  • All hemodialysis patients need to continue to go for dialysis treatments. Hospitals and dialysis units are implementing many measures to ensure all hemodialysis patients are provided the safest care.
  • Public health is recommending that support services to seniors programs focused on providing congregate meals be suspended. At long-term care facilities and for assisted living, congregate meals follow public health recommendations on social distancing. Individuals who have returned from international travel in the past 14 days have been instructed to self-isolate or self-monitor. Those who are suffering from cold- or flu-like symptoms should not participate in congregate meal programs.
  • Certain individuals should NOT visit acute care or long-term care facilities.  This includes those who have:

    •    returned from international travel in the last 14 days;

    •    been instructed to self-isolate for 14 days; or

    •    have cold or flu-like symptoms, such as a cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, weakness or headache.

Starting tomorrow, Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) clients are asked to contact staff through the call centre whenever possible, in order to follow public health recommendations on public distancing.

In light of recommendations about social distancing and limiting public gatherings, Manitoba Conservation and Climate has cancelled all planned interpreter-led events in Manitoba parks and has closed interpretive centres until further notice.

All other adult day programs may continue, provided they comply with the recommendations of social distancing, appropriate screening and do not exceed the recommended restriction on social gatherings of more than 50 people.

Manitoba’s adult and youth correctional facilities continue to allow visitors, with restrictions in place to protect the health and safety of people in custody as well as staff.  Visits from family members will continue to be allowed but with no contact. Visits with legal counsel will continue with no changes. All centres have suspended all visits from volunteers and community agencies until further notice.

Manitoba patients are advised their surgery may be postponed if their surgeon has determined their procedure can be safely delayed for three months or longer without any significant effects on their health.

Public health officials continue to recommend social distancing measures for all Manitobans including:

•    cancelling or postponing any large-scale events (events with more than 250 attendees);

•    minimizing prolonged (more than 10 minutes), close (less than two metres) contact between individuals in public;

•    avoiding greetings that involve touching such as handshakes;

•    disinfecting frequently used surfaces;

•    following public health advice related to self-monitoring and self-isolation if you have travelled or have been exposed to someone ill with the virus; and

•    avoiding all non-essential travel, as well as crowded places and events.

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Official site for Ministry of Health here and Public Health Ontario here.

COVID-19 self-assessment tool here

Getting help:

Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, your local public health unit or your primary care provider if you’re experiencing symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus.


The Government of Ontario has declared an emergency.

As a result of this declaration and its associated orders, the following establishments are legally required to close immediately:

  • All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;
  • All public libraries;
  • All private schools as defined in the Education Act;
  • All licensed child-care centres;
  • All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery;
  • All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies; and
  • Concert venues.

Further, all organized public events of more than 50 people are also prohibited, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship.

These orders will remain in place until March 31, 2020, at which point they will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless this order is terminated earlier.

The Minister of Education has issued an order to close all publicly funded schools in Ontario for two weeks following March break. This means Ontario schools have been ordered to remain closed from March 14 through to April 5, 2020.

The government is extending the validity period of driving licences, vehicle stickers and health cards.

A new law provides job-protected leave for employees who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures or to care for other relatives. These measures are retroactive to Jan. 25, the date the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario. The legislation will also make it clear employees cannot be required to show sick notes.

Ontario courts and tribunals are limiting in-person proceedings and making use of audio and video conferencing to hear priority matters remotely, where possible.

The following actions have been taken across the justice system:

  • The Superior Court of Justice has suspended all regular court operations until further notice, while continuing to hear urgent matters during this emergency period.
  • All sittings of the Small Claims Court in Ontario are suspended until further notice.
  • The Ontario Court of Justice has established procedures to reduce the number of people who attend court in-person for criminal and family matters. All non-urgent matters have been adjourned.
  • All Provincial Offences Act matters scheduled up to and including April 3 will be adjourned and rescheduled to a later date. Tickets, fines or other court business may be handled online.
  • The Court of Appeal has suspended all scheduled appeals until April 3. During this period, urgent appeals will be heard based on either the written materials or remotely.

Ministry of the Attorney General has been granted an order suspending the enforcement of residential evictions until ordered otherwise by the court.

All Tribunals Ontario in-person proceedings, including at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, Landlord and Tenant Board and Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, are postponed and will be rescheduled.

All provincial parks will be closed to the public from March 19 until April 30. This includes car camping, backcountry camping, roofed accommodations, day use opportunities and all public buildings.

Travellers who have returned from Hubei province in China or from Iran should:

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Official site here.

Getting help:

  • If you are worried about COVID‑19 or display symptoms such as a cough or fever, you can call toll free 418-644-4545 in the Quebec City region, 514-644-4545 in the Montreal area and 1-877-644-4545 elsewhere in Quebec.
  • A new COVID-19 phone line has been established at 877-644-4545 to deal with calls relating to the coronavirus.


On March 13, Quebec declared a health emergency.

  • All daycare services (childcare centres, as well as subsidized, non-subsidized, family and non-regulated daycare centres) and institutions (elementary and secondary schools, vocational training and adult education centres, private schools, CEGEPs, colleges and universities) will be closed from Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27. However, measures have been implemented to continue to offer emergency daycare services for children of health care and essential services personnel;
  • Non-essential visits are prohibited to hospitals, residential and long-term care centres, intermediate resources, family-type resources for the elderly and vulnerable adults and private seniors’ homes throughout Québec’s territory
  • A 14-day isolation is mandatory for all public employees, including health workers, teachers and daycare workers, returning from travel outside the country, including the United States.
  • There is a ban on all indoor gatherings of more than 250 people for a period of 30 days starting on March 12.
  • The government recommends cancelling all travel that is not essential.

Emergency daycare services are special services reserved exclusively for children of health care and essential services personnel who have no other alternatives.

  • These services are also available to personnel providing emergency daycare services.
  • Emergency daycare services will be offered free of charge, Monday through Friday, from March 16 to March 27, 2020, inclusive. These services are intended for children aged 5 and under who attend educational daycare centres. They are also available to children who attend kindergarten or elementary school in an English- or French-language public or private school.

The Québec government is ordering until March 30 the closing of the following businesses and public spaces:

  • libraries;
  • museums;
  • theatres;
  • performance spaces;
  • swimming pools, spas, saunas and water parks;
  • recreational sites such as ski resorts, amusement parks, trampoline centres, and so on;
  • cinemas and arcades;
  • training centres and dance, spinning, zumba and yoga centres;
  • arenas;
  • indoor soccer centres;
  • zoos;
  • aquariums;
  • bars et discotheques;
  • restaurants that offer buffets;
  • sugar shacks;
  • all other facilities with similar vocations.
  • The province is asking owners to limit the number of customers to 50 per cent of the rooms’ capacity, that is, one table in two. However, buffet-style restaurants and sugar shacks must close temporarily.

Take-out orders, deliveries and drive-through services are permitted.

The government has asked Revenu Québec to apply flexibility measures for individuals and businesses in Québec during income tax filing season.

  • The deadline for producing and filing income tax return is postponed to June 1.
  • For individuals and individuals in business, the deadline for applying balances due related to income tax returns for the 2019 taxation year is postponed to July 31.
  • For those who must pay tax instalments, the payment of the June 15, 2020 tax instalment is suspended until July 31. The date and terms of payment of this amount will be announced shortly. Individuals will have a reasonable period of time to pay the amount due.

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New Brunswick

Official site: here.

Getting help: contact Tele-Care 811 (If they require an in-person assessment, a referral will be provided to the Community Assessment Centre in their area. Note: those centres are not walk-in clinics.)


On March 19, the government declared a state of emergency.

As a result of this declaration:

  • All food and beverage businesses will be reduced to take-out and delivery service only.
  • All lounges and special facilities licensed under the Liquor Control Act will stop admitting patrons.
  • All swimming pools, spas, saunas, waterparks, gymnasiums, yoga studios, dance studios, rinks and arenas, tennis courts, soccer and baseball fields, climbing walls, escape rooms, ski hills, golf courses, arcades, amusement centres, pool halls, bowling alleys, casinos, cinemas, libraries, museums, zoos, aquariums, barbers, hair stylists, esthetics service providers, sugar bush operations, and theatres or other live performance venues will stop admitting members of the public.
  • Schools, colleges, universities and private schools must be closed to students. Institutions which have students in residence are permitted to allow them to remain in residence until they can safely return home. Online course delivery may continue.

The premier reiterated that construction activities continue and that they are not prohibited under this declaration.

Other measures under the declaration of state of emergency include:

  • All businesses in retail sales will stop admitting patrons, except: grocery stores; pharmacies; repair garages; post offices; financial and lending institutions; retailers of fuel, hardware and automotive parts; convenience stores; animal and fish feed providers; and corporate and agency stores of NB Liquor and Cannabis NB. All businesses required to stop admitting patrons are permitted to sell online or over the phone and to arrange delivery or pick-up of purchases.
  • Every person directed by a physician to self-isolate will obey.
  • Every person who has been outside Canada will self-isolate within their home for 14 days after their return to Canada, and, if they experience symptoms of COVID-19 during that period, will remain self-isolated until they are free of symptoms. This requirement does not apply to people exempted by the chief medical officer of health.
  • Owners and operators of all other premises at which people may gather in large numbers will take all reasonable steps to prevent gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • All regulated health services providers will cease operations unless the services to be provided are to address essential health care or an emergency health-care situation.
  • All unregulated health services providers, with the exception of those that are providing direct support to regulated health services providers, shall cease operations immediately.
  • Owners and managers of all workplaces and organizers of all activities will take every reasonable step to ensure minimal interaction of people within 2 metres of each other and carry out advice to minimize risk as issued by the chief medical officer of health.
  • All owners and managers of all workplaces will reduce to critical functions and will take every reasonable step required to prevent people who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 from entering the workplace, in accordance with advice issued by the chief medical officer of health or Worksafe New Brunswick. They will also take every reasonable step required to prevent people from entering workplaces who have travelled internationally in the previous 14 days.
  • All licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the Province of New Brunswick valid as of March 16, 2020, shall remain valid until May 31, 2020 unless suspended by a court or by other authority under an Act of the Province.
  • The right of landlords under section 19 of the Residential Tenancies Act to require tenants to vacate for non-payment of rent, and the authority of residential tenancies officers under section 22 of that act to evict tenants for the same reason, are suspended, until May 31, 2020.

All provincial parks are closed until further notice. This closure includes the three provincial parks which are usually open during the winter months, Mount Carleton, Mactaquac and Sugarloaf.

Schools are closed for two weeks, effective March 16.

Early learning and child-care facilities, including those located in schools, are not being closed. The directive continues to be that all individuals who have travelled internationally on or after March 9 still applies. Those travellers are to avoid early learning and child-care centres for a period of 14 days.

The Department of Health has authorized physicians to see their patients “virtually” for routine services such as prescription renewals and providing follow-up health advice. You can receive care and advice over the phone, or if available to you, via secure video chat software.

These provisions have also just been authorized for psychiatrists for the provision of mental health care services.

Visitation is restricted at nursing homes and hospitals.

New Brunswick courts are closed to the public except for those people necessary to the proceedings including counsel, litigants, accused, witnesses, victim service workers and members of the media. No one who is experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms should attend.

The premier says parents will not be charged while daycares are closed to their children and said essential service workers, whose children are at daycares, will continue to pay their regular rate.

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in correctional institutions, the province has closed public access to these facilities effective immediately. The restriction includes all members of the public, including inmate family members, volunteers and legal representatives.

If you start having symptoms (headache, congestion, achiness, feeling unwell) or your symptoms get worse (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible. Immediately call Tele-Care 811.  

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Nova Scotia

Official site: here.

COVID-19 self-assessment tool here

Getting help: call 811 for assessment (Nova Scotia Health Authority has established COVID-19 assessment centres. If you need in-person assessment, 811 will refer you to a centre. Don’t go to a COVID-19 assessment centre unless 811 referred you)


Effectively immediately, there are to be no gatherings of more than 50 people.

Organizations and businesses are required to practise social distancing of two metres (6 feet).

The province and its health system partners are working to increase capacity within the health system. This includes:

  • doctors and pharmacists have new options for virtual care, using telephone and secure videoconferencing
  • pharmacists can renew prescriptions for most medications and government will cover the assessment fee

As of Thursday, March 19:

  • restaurants are restricted to take-out and delivery orders only. They can’t open for in-person dining.
  • all drinking establishments, winery and distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms must close.
  • personal services, such as hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons, and body art establishments must close.
  • all fitness establishments, such as gyms, must close.

Private liquor stores can still operate. Craft breweries, wineries and distilleries can still sell their products from their storefronts.

Nova Scotia Health Authority has restricted visitors and is suspending some elective and non-urgent appointments and services to contain the spread of COVID-19 and conserve resources. Read more on the NSHA website.

The Province of Nova Scotia, under the authority of the Health Protection Act, is requiring anyone who has travelled outside Canada to self-isolate for 14 days upon return, even if you are symptom-free.

Public health inspectors will be onsite at the Halifax International Airport and the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport.

Notices and closures

The following restrictions are in place under the Authority of the Health Protection Act:

  • Long-term care facilities are closed to all visitors.
  • Public schools will be closed for two weeks following March Break (weeks of March 23 and March 30).
  • All licensed childcare providers are required to close (through April 3 inclusive).
  • March Break camps are cancelled.
  • Casinos in Halifax and Sydney are closed and bar owners can no longer operate VLTs.
  • Employers cannot require a doctor’s note if an employee must be off work.
  • All service providers funded through the Department of Community Services’ Disability Support Program, including social enterprises, day programs, and supported employment programs for adults with diverse abilities are closed.

No tenant can be evicted because their income has been impacted by COVID-19, effective immediately for the next 3 months.

University students from Nova Scotia who are still living in residences need to go home, to provide space for social distancing for those students from outside the province who are not able to travel.

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Prince Edward Island

Official site here

COVID-19 self-assessment tool here

Getting help: Call 811. Islanders with questions about COVID-19 should call PEI’s toll-free information line at 1-800-958-6400. The information line is taking messages 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and Islanders who leave messages will receive a call back from the Chief Public Health Office. PEI businesses with questions should call 1-866-222-1751.


A detailed list of government closures and changes is here.

A list of essential and non-essential services is here. Only one person per household should be going out to get groceries or supplies from essential services.

An employer FAQ is here

The province has declared a state of public-health emergency to ensure the province is taking all appropriate actions to prepare and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

  • All bars, theatres (including movie theatres), and indoor play areas will close immediately. All in-room dining at restaurants will also close, but may continue to provide pick-up, delivery and drive-thru options if they choose. 
  • All dental clinics and optometry appointments will be cancelled, except for emergency appointments, which will be handled case by case. 
  • Funerals should be cancelled or rescheduled and wakes at funeral homes will be for family only, with no more than 20 people present. Online condolences and donations will be available.  
  • Call ahead if you have a health-related appointment booked. If it is not considered essential, it may be rebooked. 
  • All library programs and events Island-wide have been cancelled in an effort to help limit the spread of COVID-19
  • Effective March 17, 2020, all public licensed child care centres will be closed until further notice and all public schools will be closed for two weeks following March Break (March 23 to April 3) and will be reassessed.
  • All public and private long-term care and community care facilities will be restricting visitors.
  • Additional measures include the immediate closure of Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale, and all provincially run visitor information centres.

Including closures as of March 19 at 2 p.m.:

  • PEI Liquor Control Commission government-operated retail locations. (Note – Agency stores licensed to sell liquor and breweries will continue to operate. We will monitor the situation at agency stores, in partnership with Dr. Morrison to ensure operations are done safely.)
  • PEI Cannabis retail stores. Online and mail delivery will continue.

If you have not been travelling recently but are still concerned about coronavirus, please read the following questions carefully:

  1. In the past 14 days, have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus?
  2. In the past 14 days, have you been in close contact with a person with fever or acute respiratory illness (new or worsening cough or difficulty breathing) who has been outside of Canada within 14 days prior to becoming ill?

If the answer is yes to either question, stay at home and call 811 for further assessment.

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Newfoundland and Labrador

Official site here

COVID-19 self-assessment tool here

Getting help: follow-up with your health care provider or call the NL Healthline at 811


On March 18, the Minister of Health and Community Services declared COVID-19 a public health emergency under the Public Health Protection and Promotion ActThe following facilities are ordered to close:

  • Gyms and fitness facilities, including yoga studios, tennis and squash facilities
  • Dance studios
  • Businesses that hold a license under the Liquor Control Act whose primary purpose is the consumption of beer, wine, or spirits
  • Cinemas
  • Arenas
  • Performance spaces
  • Bingo halls

Restaurants are permitted to operate at 50 per cent capacity, as long as appropriate social distancing (2 arms’ length from others) can be maintained.

Gatherings of 50 people or more are not permitted.

Counter services at the Consumer Affairs Division has been temporarily suspended.

Residential tenancy dispute hearings, where the safety of landlords, tenants or rental property are at risk, will be adjudicated through scheduled teleconferences.

Anyone arriving to Newfoundland and Labrador from outside of Canada is required to self-isolate for 14 days after their arrival in Canada.

A person found in breach of these orders could face a fine or jail time. A corporation found in breach of these orders could face a fine of $5,000 to $50,000.

The Public Health Emergency will be reviewed every two weeks.

Regulated family child care homes will close in addition to Family Resource Centres and their satellite offices. These measures are in addition to the closure of regulated child care centres as announced on March 16.

  • All schools are to be closed as of the end of day of March 16. As well, child-care facilities are being closed.
  • As of Saturday, all public service employees returning from out-of-province travel must self-isolate for 14 days.
  • There are restrictions on visiting long-term care facilities.

A list of government services that are suspended or continuing by appointment, phone and email, or as normal.

The following restrictions will be in place at regional health authority facilities during this COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Only urgent/emergent surgeries will take place.
  • Patients who are scheduled for elective surgeries tomorrow will be accommodated.
  • All other elective surgeries will be rebooked.

Affected individuals will be contacted by their regional health authority about their surgery.

Other Services

  • All cancer services will continue.
  • In-centre dialysis will continue.
  • Doorways, mobile crisis response teams, and ACT teams will continue.
  • Inpatient rehabilitation services will continue.
  • Urgent/emergent appointments at outpatient clinics will continue.
  • Appointments at outpatient clinics will be rebooked at a future date.
  • Only urgent/emergent diagnostic and therapeutic procedures will go ahead.


  • Only one designated visitor per resident is permitted in long-term care homes.
  • No visitors are permitted in any of the province’s hospitals with the following exceptions:
    • There are no restrictions on the number of visitors for patients at end-of-life.
    • Only one designated person per patient is permitted in obstetrics delivery rooms.
    • Parents can visit children who are inpatients.


  • Volunteering is temporarily suspended.


  • University and college student placements will continue.


  • The use of health care facilities for community groups is temporarily suspended.

If you are having symptoms or had exposure to someone with COVID-19: Contact 811 for further direction.

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Official site here.

COVID-19 self-assessment tool here

Getting help: phone 811 or your health provider


On March 18, the government declared a public health emergency.

  • Classes are suspended at all Yukon public schools until April 15, or until further notice.
  • All public indoor recreational facilities are required to close until further notice. This includes the Canada Games Centre, ice rinks and recreation centres.
  • All three Yukon hospitals are closed to visitors, with limited exceptions. At all three hospitals, a strict limit of two people will be permitted to visit maternity/newborn patients, sick children, patients at end of life or in emergency situations. Caregiver of a person with a disability and substitute decision makers are also permitted to visit.
  • Libraries are closed until further notice.

Individuals who have travelled outside of Yukon in the last 14 days, or who are feeling sick, are banned from visiting hospitals.

Long-term care facilities are closed to visitors and volunteers, unless family members are at the end of life or gravely ill regardless of travel.

These restrictions are accompanied by several others including the following:

  • Mass gatherings of more than 50 people are banned, including at houses of worship.
  • Parents or caregivers who are able to keep their children home from spring break day camps, or daycare, are requested to do so. Fewer children in camps or daycares will help to limit any spread.
  • People who can work from home are requested to do so. Employers are asked to look for ways to support employees to work from home where possible.

ALL travellers who returned to Yukon from outside Canada on or after March 13 are required to self-isolate immediately, for 14 days, and monitor for symptoms.

Travellers who returned to Yukon from Italy, Iran or the Hubei Province of China before March 13, must also self-isolate, and must monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after return. If symptoms do develop, stay home and call 811 immediately.

Travellers who returned to Yukon from other destinations outside Canada, before March 13, are required to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Do not go to an emergency department, family doctor, walk-in clinic or your local health centre without calling 811 first.

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Northwest Territories

Official site here.

Getting help: tell your health care provider if you have symptoms


On March 18, the government declared a territory-wide Public Health Emergency under the Northwest Territories Public Health Act

  • Chief Public Health Officer is recommending that NWT residents avoid all non-essential travel outside of the Northwest Territories.
  • All 15 public libraries located within schools are closed as of March 16 and will remain closed for the duration of school closures (until April 14, 2020)
  • Effective Monday, March 16 2020, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre will be closed to the public until further notice. Access to the NWT Archives will remain available by request.
  • All JK-12 classes have been cancelled until April 14. The Minister of Education, Culture, and Employment and the Chief Public Health Officer are meeting with education authorities to discuss all implications of this cancellation.
  • GNWT services to the public: Due to the current situation with COVID-19, any visitors who appear to have flu-like symptoms or have been in contact with someone with symptoms will be turned away and asked to call in instead.
  • A number of GNWT events may be postponed or cancelled. Please reach out to the regional office in your area to confirm whether the event you are interested in is proceeding.
  • GNWT employees who have travelled internationally are directed not to return to work until they have been symptom free for 14 days.
  • All Aurora College programs and classes have been temporarily suspended for the week of March 23.
  • All driver exams are cancelled.
  • The GNWT is closing all beverage container and electronic recycling depots in the NWT until further notice.

The government is advising all individuals, organizations, and businesses that they should cancel all mass gatherings which could include over 50 people.

Large retail or grocery stores are exempt from the 50 person-requirement. The guidance on hand-washing and physical distance still apply.

Additionally, if you are holding a gathering of less than 50 people, the following measures must be available to be considered safe:

  1. The ability to keep two metres between people.
  2. Adequate supply of hygiene material (i.e. paper towels, soap, hand sanitizer, running water, waste disposal).
  3. The direction that anyone who is not feeling well must stay home.
  4. Increased cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces used often.

Starting March 17:

  • Non-essential medical travel to Alberta and within the NWT will be ramped down over the coming days. Travel for essential care and services will continue on a case-by-case basis. We will be replacing as many appointments as possible with virtual appointments.
  • Travel of specialist physicians to specialist clinics delivered in communities across the Northwest Territories will be cancelled and replaced with virtual appointments where possible.
  • Non-urgent and non-emergent endoscopy procedures will be cancelled
  • All elders day programs delivered by the health and social services authorities will be cancelled
  • Oral health programs, normally delivered through schools, will be cancelled
  • Sick notes will no longer be issued. Employers need to support public health efforts by allowing staff who are sick to stay home or staff returning from travel to isolate based on advice from the Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories
  • Visitation to long-term care will be immediately cancelled.
  • Visitation to acute care sites will be limited to one person per visit.

We emphasize, please do not visit care sites unless required, if you need care and services and have flu-like symptoms, call ahead before presenting. Also note that primary care visits by family physicians to communities will continue.

  • GNWT services to the public: Due to the current situation with COVID-19, any visitors who appear to have flu-like symptoms or have been in contact with someone with symptoms will be turned away and asked to call in instead.
  • A number of GNWT events may be postponed or cancelled. Please reach out to the regional office in your area to confirm whether the event you are interested in is proceeding.
  • GNWT employees who have travelled internationally are directed not to return to work until they have been symptom free for 14 days.

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Official site here

Getting help: call your local health centre


On March 18, the government declared a public health emergency.

A full list of closures as well as financial aid and other changes is here

Effective Friday, March 20 and until further notice:

  • Restaurants will be take-out only, with no more than 10 people in a line-up at any time.
  • All bars will close.
  • Taxis are limited to one pick-up per fare.
  • Food centres and soup kitchens across the territory can remain open for five days to lessen impacts to food security. They will be provided with take-out containers to be able to prepare meals for take away.

Nunavut’s chief public health officer is recommending the temporary closure of all schools and daycares in Nunavut to limit any potential spread of COVID-19. These closures are effective starting Tuesday, March 17 for a three weeks.

If you become ill:

If you develop symptoms and have travelled to a region with known cases of COVID-19 occurring in the community or have been in contact with someone who has:

  • stay at home and avoid contact with others
  • follow up with your health care professional

If you develop fever, cough or difficulty breathing in the next 14 days, call your health care provider or local public health authority and advise them of possible contact with COVID-19.

If you are ill and must visit a health care professional, call ahead or tell them when you arrive that you have a respiratory illness and if you have travelled.

  • Please call before going to your health centre, if it is a non-emergency. You will be assessed by phone. For Iqaluit, for non-emergency situations, it’s the same thing—please call before going to the Qikiqtani General Hospital.
  • Government of Nunavut services continue but may be slower than usual because of reduced staff.
  • All non-urgent requests will be triaged daily. Immediate access to urgent and emergent health care services will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • For Iqaluit, for non-emergency situations, please call first before coming to Qikiqtani General Hospital.
  • For all communities, for non-emergency situations please call first before coming to the health centre. You will be assessed by phone.
  • Physicians will continue community visits.
  • Mental health supports are available.

Department of Human Resources

  • GN employees affected by school and daycare closures have three weeks of paid leave (or other accommodation).
  • 14 days of Self-Isolation Paid Leave for all GN employees experiencing flu-like symptoms or advised to self-isolate at home.
  • The GN has temporarily waived the need for medical certificates for GN employees.
  • All in-person public service training courses and programs have been cancelled or postponed.
  • All non-essential duty travel suspended.

Department of Family Services

  • We request that all Income Assistance, Career Development and Family Wellness clients call to arrange an appointment, instead of dropping into our offices.
  • We are working to determine what is best for our students in the south, on the advice of the CPHO.
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