Below is a summary of the Manitoba government supports as of May 7, 2020.
Manitoba declared a provincial state of emergency under the Emergency Measures Acton March 20, 2020.
Child care for essential workers
On March 20, 2020, The Manitoba government announced the following measures to help provide child care to essential front-line workers:
- establish a new $18-million grant program to help early childhood educators begin independently offering child-care services at their homes or in the community;
- continue to provide licensed child-care centres with their full operating grants and subsidies;
- create a $2 million trust to provide capital gains to child-care providers; and
- encourage all centres to reimburse prepaid fees to parents for child care they can no longer access at this time.
Extended tax filing deadlines for businesses
- On March 22, 2020, the Premier of Manitoba and Minister of Finance announced that the province will extend the April and May filing deadlines for small and medium-sized business with monthly remittances of not more than $10,000. Businesses will have up to two additional months to remit retail sales taxes, and the Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Levy (payroll tax).
- The Minister of Finance also noted that it will work with businesses regarding flexible repayment options above the $10,000 cap.
- The deadline for filing provincial tax returns and paying any amounts due is extended to August 31, 2020. The Government of Manitoba is willing to extend this date until October 1, 2020, if the federal government agrees with the measure.
- In person service at the Taxation Division Offices is not available. Services are continuing by telephone and online
Extended tax filing deadlines for individuals
- The deadline for filing provincial tax returns and paying any amounts due is extended to August 31, 2020. The Government of Manitoba is willing to extend this date until October 1, 2020, if the federal government agrees with this extension.
- The Government of Manitoba is working with municipal partners to ensure municipalities do not charge interest on provincial education taxes and school division fees. The province is encouraging municipalities to do the same with respect to municipal taxes.
Postpone eviction hearings and freeze rent increases
- On March 24, 2020, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced that the Government of Manitoba is postponing eviction hearings and freezing rents
Rent assist for Manitobans not receiving Employment and Income Assistance (EIA)
- The Government of Manitoba announced a rent assist which is a shelter benefit for low-income Manitobans who rent their own accommodations in the private market. The rent assist will benefit to Manitobans by paying them a benefit based on their income and the cost of rent in the market for their family size.
Temporary exception to employment standards layoff rules
- On March 27, 2020, the Finance Minister announced that it is adding a temporary exception to the employment standards regulations in order to provide flexibility to employers to recall employees once work picks up again.
- Any period of layoff occurring after March 1, 2020, will not be counted toward the period after which a temporary layoff would become a permanent termination, requiring employers to provide pay in lieu of notice.
Suspended student loan repayments
- On April 7, 2020, the Premier announced that the province is suspending repayment of Manitoba Student Aid loans for six months.
$5-million fund for research projects related to COVID-19
The Government of Manitoba announced a $5-million fund through Research Manitoba to support a clinical trial to determine if a commonly used drug can safely be used as a treatment for COVID-19. Moreover, the fund will also provide support for local researchers to develop solutions to health-care issues. The funds will be distributed as follows:
- More than $3.5 million to support clinical and applied research including $700,000 for Manitoba’s first COVID-19 clinical trial for a drug.
- $500,000 invested in partnerships with industry and philanthropic sources supporting existing trials.
- $1 million invested in COVID-19 innovation projects including looking at the development of diagnostic tools.
Paid Administrative Leave for Health-Care Staff
- The Government of Manitoba will provide health-care staff paid administrative leave for the full 14-day period of asymptomatic self-isolation.
- Workers that have symptoms during self-isolation will be compensated by sick leave benefits, pursuant to their collective agreement
Unpaid Leave for Employees
New legislative provisions will allow employees as much unpaid time off work as needed to:
- be in isolation or quarantine;
- obtain medical examination, supervision or treatment;
- comply with an order made under The Emergency Measures Act or the Public Health Act;
- provide care or support to a family member as a result of COVID-19; or
- Comply with travel restrictions.
$1,3 billion to support COVID-19 fight
On April 15, 2020, the Government of Manitoba announced releasing up to $1 billion to support the government’s ongoing actions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic which is requested to be allocated as follows:
- $500 million for the Health Services Insurance Fund;
- $400 million for the internal service adjustments appropriations of government; and
- $100 million for emergency expenditures.
- On April 17, 2020, the Government of Manitoba announced an investment of an additional $300 million to ensure the government can respond quickly to front-line health-care needs and protect vulnerable Manitobans.
Workers Compensation Board surplus
- The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba is returning a $37 million surplus to provide financial relief to eligible employers.
- To be eligible to receive the surplus, employers must have fulfilled their payroll reporting responsibilities for 2019 and paid a WCB premium in 2019. Employers can still report their 2019 payroll to receive the surplus distribution.
Support for small and medium-sized businesses
The Government of Manitoba is providing $120 million to support Manitoba’s small and medium-sized businesses through the Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP). The MGPP is aimed at helping businesses in Manitoba who do not qualify for the federal government COVID-19 relief programs. The government will advance to each eligible business the non-interest bearing forgivable MGPP loan of $6,000. The loan will be forgiven on Dec. 31, 2020 if the recipient attests that he has not received any major non-repayable COVID-19 federal supports. Otherwise, the loan will be added to the recipient’s 2020 tax bill. In order to be eligible for the MGPP funding, a business must:
have been operational on March 20, 2020;
have temporarily ceased or curtailed operations as a result of a COVID-19 public health order and have been harmed by it;
be registered and in good standing with the Manitoba Business and Corporate Registry;
have not qualified for federal government COVID-19 grant support; and
have an email address and a bank account.
Relief for public insurance policy holders
- Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is returning up to $110 million to provide financial relief to its policyholders. The returns take the form of a rebate based on what policyholders paid last year and expected to be around 11 per cent, or between $140 to $160, per average policyholder. The rebate cheque can be expected between the end of May and early June.
Summer Student Recovery Plan
- The Summer Student Recovery Plan is a new wage subsidy program aimed to support high school and post-secondary students employed in the private and non-profit sectors. The government announced that up to $120 million is available for employers to access a $7 per hour wage subsidy, up to a maximum of $5,000 per student.
Clarification of emergency benefit for Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) clients
- On April 24, 2020, the Government of Manitoba announced that it will be treating the Canada Emergency Response Benefit as earned income under the provincial EIA. This will allow EIA clients to continue to receive benefits and will increase the amount of support available to EIA clients.
Orders to support specific groups
The Government of Manitoba announced on April 28, 2020, that it is implementing four orders to continue to support particular populations during the COVID-19 crisis:
- the Youth in Care Provisions Order, which ensures that youth in the Child and Family Services system who turn 18 during the pandemic will continue to be offered ongoing supports;
- the Student Aid Provisions Order, which allows post-secondary students to remain eligible for aid even if they temporarily stop qualifying during the state of emergency period. This provision lowers the minimum monthly repayment to $0 for the next six months, suspends the obligation for a student to start paying back their loan eight months after they end their studies, prevents borrowers from going into default during the state of emergency period, and extends the maximum term for repayment;
- the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Credential Provisions Order, which suspends the requirement that a carrier licensed under the agreement must have and display credentials, and the province will not fine licensed carriers if their licensing authority was unable to distribute their credentials; and
- the Trucking and Transportation Provisions Order, which extends the expiry dates on certain permits, certificates or registrations until July 31. Deadlines to pay IRP registration renewal charges are also extended, along with an extended period between required inspections on vehicles such as busses and commercial carriers. In addition, the regular three-month deadline for new residents and non-residents to replace their out-of-province driving permits with a Manitoba driver’s licence, vehicle registration or insurance is also extended to July 31.
Seniors Economic Recovery Credit
- The Government of Manitoba is extending $45 million in direct financial support through the Seniors Economic Recovery Credit to support seniors. The credit benefits every Manitoban aged 65 and older with a one-time and refundable tax credit of $200.
Support for students and post-secondary institutions
- The Government of Manitoba will match all funds raised by universities and colleges for the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative (MSBI) for the 2020-21 academic year. Approximately $30 million will be provided to students this year through scholarships and bursaries.
Infrastructure package to help restart Manitoba recovery
- The Government of Manitoba announced on May 7, 2020 that it is increasing infrastructure investments by an additional $500 million as part of an economic stimulus package to help restart Manitoba’s economy.
- The Manitoba Restart Program will include new water and sewage projects, road and highway resurfacing and repairs, bridge repairs, municipal infrastructure priorities, and potential new cost-sharing construction projects.