With the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we encourage you to make use of the resources and information below as you make decisions on behalf of your business and its employees. We will strive to keep this page up-to-date with the most relevant and timely information. As we are able to get questions answered for our membership, we will post those answers here as well.
The Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan
The Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan is a 5-phase plan for reopening Saskatchewan’s economy and returning to normal social practices. Please see the following links and Frequently Asked Questions for more information on the plan and what to expect.
Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan (Full)
Q: What does “re-opening” mean?
A: “Re-opening” is the process of returning allowed economic and social activity to pre-COVID-19 levels and lifting the state of emergency. The Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan provides a framework for this process and is intended to phase-in different activities based on their relative safety for the public. This will be a gradual process guided by medical advice and certain restrictions will remain in place throughout the process of re-opening.
Q: My business or industry is allowed to re-open in Phases 1 and 2 of the Plan. Am I able to return to business as usual?
A: While businesses and industries will be allowed to re-open, it will not be fully “as usual.” The following recommendations will remain in place throughout the Phases of the Plan and should be used as a basis for businesses’ plans to re-open their specific operation:
- Protective measures for vulnerable populations.
- Individuals should continue working from home if they can do so effectively.
- Physical distancing must be maintained, wherever possible.
- People must stay at home when they are sick.
- Vulnerable individuals, such as seniors and those with underlying health conditions, should continue to
exercise caution and minimize high-risk exposures, such as public outings.
- Personal hygiene will continue to be a key prevention measure.
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfection should take place in workplaces, public spaces and recreational
- Although the public health order regarding the size of gatherings does not apply to businesses and
workplaces, they are expected to follow the recommended public health measures, including:
- physical distancing for staff and clients;
- regular cleaning and disinfection;
- frequent handwashing and sanitizing;
- use of PPE where available and appropriate; and
- keeping staff who demonstrate or report COVID-19 symptoms out of the workplace.
- Long-term care and personal care homes must ensure that each staff member works in only one
The following long-term restrictions are also in place pending removal by the Chief Medical Health Officer in Phase 5 of the Plan:
- Large public and private gatherings – indoors and outdoors – are prohibited. Gatherings are limited to
a maximum of 10 people (excluding family members living in the same household).
- Non-essential international travel is strongly discouraged.
- Individuals identified by a Medical Health Officer as having novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) must
immediately go into mandatory self-isolation until it is determined they no longer pose a public health
- Individuals identified by a Medical Health Officer as a close contact of a person or persons with COVID19 must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the last date of exposure.
- Individuals who travelled internationally must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the
date of arrival back into Canada, except for the following people if they are supervised by Infection
Prevention and Control Officers or Occupational Health and Safety in the workplace:
- specific health care workers;
- workers who provide emergency health care services;
- workers who are essential to maintaining essential services;
- workers who maintain the supply chain; or
- rail, airline and transport crews.
- Individuals who are household members or contacts of a person or persons with COVID-19 must
immediately go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days and call HealthLine 811 if they become
- Visitors to long-term care homes, hospitals, personal care homes and group homes are restricted to
family or designates visiting for compassionate reasons. All visitors must undergo additional health
screening prior to entry.
- Long-term care and personal care facilities must restrict the movement of staff to a single facility,
effective April 28.
- Staff in all Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) care facilities and affiliates, including long-term care
and personal care homes, will undergo health screening prior to entering and exiting the facility, and
all staff members will be required to wear, at minimum, a procedural/surgical mask while on duty.
- Additional personal protective equipment may be required to perform care or procedures, and
those guidelines must be followed.
- The SHA and the Ministry of Health are working with long-term care homes, affiliates and
personal care homes to assess and support surgical/procedural mask needs.
- Additional personal protective equipment may be required to perform care or procedures, and
- All daycare facilities are limited to a maximum of eight children, unless the facility can be reconfigured
to allow a maximum of eight children in one room and be in accordance with the Saskatchewan Child
Care Guidelines for Care.
- The suspension of classes in all primary and secondary educational institutions – public and private.
Q: What kind of PPE will my employees require upon returning to work?
A: According to the Government of Saskatchewan’s guidelines, most workers will not require PPE unless they are required to come into close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19. This includes specific industries such as:
- First responders (e.g. police and fire officials);
- Corrections officials;
- Group home and personal care home workers responsible for resident care;
- Funeral home staff;
- Public health officials; and
- Personal care services.
Other industries that do not require close contact should still practice proper hand hygiene, including washing with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs when hands are not visibly soiled, and disinfecting of work areas. While masks are not required in all industries, they are an additional measure that businesses can take to prevent spread and establish consumer trust. A homemade cloth mask or common surgical mask will be sufficient for most business needs (rather than an N95 respirator). More information on specific PPE can be found HERE.
Q: What health and safety considerations should I make before re-opening the business?
A: There are a number of steps that a business can take to reduce the health and safety risks for employees and customers.
First, businesses should determine which staff are required to work on-site in order for business to resume as the Saskatchewan government still recommends that staff work from home if possible.
Second, businesses should self-identify specific conditions or tasks that increase the risk of exposure to COVID-19 through workplace walk-throughs and consultation with employees. Information about COVID-19 symptoms and how COVID-19 spreads can be found HERE.
Third, businesses should develop specific controls to eliminate or minimize the risk of exposure and ensure that they are in place and working properly. This includes erecting physical barriers where appropriate, establishing physical distancing of 2m between all individuals on site, and establishing hygiene and disinfecting routines for all high-contact or shared items/areas.
Lastly, employers should enact a workplace COVID-19 policy that outlines these measures as well as what is expected of workers if they get sick, have symptoms, or if an exposure is reported at the business location. This policy should be reviewed with staff to ensure that they understand and comply.
Q: What specific measures should I take for my specific industry?
A: in addition to the information above, the Saskatchewan government has set out specific guidelines to be followed on an industry-by industry basis. While the specifics vary by industry, all of the guidelines place an emphasis on reduced physical contact, reduced cross-contamination (such as from items that customers bring into a business), proper hygiene, and increased disinfecting of shared or high-use surfaces. These guidelines can be found HERE.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has developed industry-specific tip sheets for businesses as well that contain specific steps that businesses may follow to ensure that they can operate safely. These tip sheets can be found HERE.
Federal Government News & Programs
Provincial Government News & Programs
Municipal Government News & Programs
NSBA Correspondence and Media
Tips & Advice for Business Owners
NSBA Webinar Series
The NSBA is hosting a series of webinars to provide businesses with pertinent information about the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the upcoming webinars or re-watch past webinars HERE.
Questions & Answers
Q: What steps should I take if my business is slow and I am having trouble keeping my employees working?
A: There are a couple measures that a business can take in this situation to decide the next steps:
- Understand your business’ financial situation and what it will mean for your business to stay open, pause operations, or close. Speak to your accountant/financial advisor to understand your options.
- Ask your commercial insurance provider whether your plan covers business interruption.
- Make a plan on how your business will weather the COVID-19 pandemic and return to full operations. Look for opportunities to adapt your business to the circumstances (e.g. offering delivery instead of eat-in options) that can keep your employees working and revenue coming in.
Q: How do I take advantage of the Government of Canada’s temporary wage subsidy for employers?
A: All employers in Canada will be eligible to apply for a temporary wage subsidy of up to 75% of an employee’s salary for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15th. The amount per employee will be capped at $847 per week (equivalent to 75% of the first $58,700 of an employee’s salary). To be eligible for this program, employers will need to be able to demonstrate a 30% decline in revenue versus the corresponding month in 2019. Applications for this program will be available soon via CRA’s digital services. However, employers should not expect money to be paid out for approximately 6 weeks. If you have already applied for and received the previous 10% wage subsidy, the amount you are eligible for under the new program will be lowered by the amount received under the original plan.
Q: I am in a position to have to lay-off staff. Do I need to provide notice and pay in lieu?
A: Saskatchewan recently amended the Employment Standard Regulations to ensure that during a public emergency, businesses will not have to provide notice or pay in lieu of notice when they lay-off staff if it is for a period of 12 weeks or less in a 16-week period. If an employer lays-off employees periodically for a total of more than 12 weeks in a 16-week period, the employees are considered to be terminated and are entitled to pay instead of notice as outlined in the Act. This will be calculated from the date on which the employee was laid off.
Q: Who should I contact regarding the Government of Canada’s Business Credit Availability Program?
Q: Will the City of Saskatoon still be processing construction permits during this time?
A: Yes, the permitting department is considered an essential service and will be operational to help keep business flowing during this time. Delays may be experienced while the office transitions to remote work situations and deals with a backlog of permits.
Q: I have laid off employees and want to supplement their benefits. How do I do this?
A: If an employer wants to “top-up” EI benefits for their employees, they must register to do so with Service Canada. Employers can learn more HERE.