Government of Canada’s response to COVID-19

The Government of Canada is acting to minimize the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadians.

This webpage was created to provide the latest information on legislative and other measures adopted to protect Canadians in response to the pandemic.  

Legislation

 

The following federal legislation has been enacted to date to protect the health and well-being of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19)

On July 27, 2020, Bill C-20: An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures received Royal Assent and enacted the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19), which addresses pressing issues relating to time limits included in federal legislation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges on many fronts, both for individual Canadians and businesses. Access to justice and the effective functioning of our justice and court system are fundamental to a just and fair Canadian society. In these exceptional circumstances, many Canadians, businesses and other organizations may be unable to meet numerous time limits currently set out in federal legislation, including rules for court civil cases and some key regulatory matters.

The Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) (the Act) allows the continued protection of Canadians’ rights in the context of civil legal proceedings, by ensuring that individuals are not prevented from asserting their rights because of the passage of a time limit. It also better supports Canadians, Canadian businesses, and the Government in making sure they are able to avoid irreversible legal consequences.

The Act has two parts which respectively address time limits relating to civil litigation proceedings and other time limits and periods included in federal legislation. It also includes a set of safeguards and parliamentary oversight provisions.

Time limits in civil litigation proceedings

The Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) automatically suspends time limits established under federal legislation for starting a civil legal proceeding or doing something in a civil legal proceeding.

This suspension of time limits is be valid for a maximum of 6 months, starting on March 13, 2020 and ending on September 13, 2020 or on an earlier date fixed by order of the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice.

Time limits and other periods in federal legislation

The Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) also now allows federal ministers to make temporary orders to extend or suspend other time limits identified in specific federal legislation for which they are responsible.

Orders made under this provision of the Act can be retroactive to March 13, 2020 and valid for a maximum of 6 months, but cannot have effect beyond December 31, 2020. Such orders also cannot be made after September 30, 2020.

Federal ministers can extend or suspend deadlines found in specific federal laws and regulations that are identified in the new Act. This list of laws and regulations can be found in the Act’s Schedule.

Safeguards and parliamentary oversight provisions

The Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) includes safeguards and parliamentary oversight provisions to enhance transparency.

These safeguards include:

  • a requirement for the legislation to be interpreted so as to provide certainty in legal proceedings and ensure respect for the rule of law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • a sunset clause of September 30, 2020, meaning that orders cannot be made after that date, and a second sunset clause so that such orders cannot have effect beyond December 31, 2020
  • a number of measures to ensure transparency and accountability, such as:
    • a requirement for all orders to be published on a government website within 5 days of being made and for a minimum of 6 months
    • a requirement for all orders to be published in the Canada Gazette within 14 days of being made
    • a requirement for all orders to be tabled in Parliament within three sitting days of being made or as soon as possible if Parliament is not sitting

Once tabled in Parliament, all temporary orders made under this legislation must be referred to a committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons.

Charter Statements

 

Many Canadians may not know that since December 13, 2019, a Charter Statement is tabled in Parliament for all Government legislation. These are tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Justice once legislation is introduced.

Charter Statements are a transparency measure intended to inform parliamentary and public debate on a bill and help increase awareness and understanding of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter).

The following list provides links to the Charter Statements related to federal legislation enacted to date in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Orders and Regulations

 

Along with legislation, the Government of Canada also has the authority, under existing laws, such as the Quarantine Act and the Aeronautics Act, to issue orders and regulations to address COVID-19 to ensure the public safety of Canadians.

Note: this table and the links to each order or regulation are updated on a regular basis.
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Order or Regulation Responsible Department or Agency Description Date order made Effective date Effective until
Order respecting time limits and other periods established by or under certain acts and regulations for which the Minister of Industry is responsible (COVID-19) Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry issued a Ministerial Order under the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) dated July 31, 2020 extending certain time limits in relation to the National Security Review of Investments Regulations. July 31, 2020 July 31, 2020 December 31, 2020
Order respecting time limits and other periods established by or under certain acts and regulations for which the Minister of Industry is responsible (COVID-19) Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry issued a Ministerial Order under the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) dated July 31, 2020 extending certain time limits in relation to the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, and the Canada Cooperatives Act. July 31, 2020 March 13, 2020 December 31, 2020
Order respecting time limits and other periods established by or under certain acts and regulations for which the Minister of Industry is responsible (COVID-19) Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry issued a Ministerial Order under the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) dated July 31, 2020 extending certain time limits in relation to the Boards of Trade Act. July 31, 2020 April 1, 2020 December 31, 2020
Order Lifting Suspensions of Time Limits in Relation to Proceedings Commenced Under Certain Acts for Which the Minister of Industry is Responsible Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada This Order made under subsection 6(4) of the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) lifts the suspension on certain court timelines governing proceedings under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations to provide greater certainty for the operations of these regimes and to avoid unintended adverse consequences for stakeholders. July 30, 2020 July 30, 2020 September 13, 2020
Interim Order No. 6 Amending the Employment Insurance Act (Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit) Employment and Social Development Canada This Interim Order provides authorities for administrative and integrity functions related to the EI Emergency Response Benefit that are closely aligned with those of the related Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act. This Interim Order also provides authorities to enable EI Emergency Response Benefit claimants to benefit from substantive supports under Part II of the Employment Insurance Act, such as training and wage subsidies, and provides that the provisions under Part VII, which may require a claimant to repay a portion of EI benefits when their annual income exceeds a threshold, do not apply to the EI Emergency Response Benefit. July 22, 2020 March 15, 2020 This interim order will cease to apply on December 31, 2020, or the day on which the interim order is repealed.
Order under Section 32.01 of the Railway Safety Act due to COVID-19, No. 4 Transport Canada This Ministerial Order requires intercity passenger rail carriers outlined in this order to implement mandatory health checks for COVID-19 and to refuse boarding of symptomatic passengers. July 1, 2020 July 1, 2020 July 31, 2020
Interim Order No. 3 Respecting Passenger Vessel Restrictions Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Transport Canada The interim order was issued to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 and applies to passenger vessels and ferry vessels. Cruise ships with overnight accommodations allowed to carry more than 100 persons will be prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020. All passenger vessels are prohibited to enter arctic waters from any other waters, with some exceptions. Passenger vessels that provide essential services and ferry vessels must either: (a) at all times, carry not more than 50 percent of the maximum number of passengers that it is certified to carry; or (b) implement measures to reduce transmission risks of COVID-19. June 30, 2020 July 1, 2020 October 31, 2020
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease in Canada Order (Mandatory Isolation), No. 3 Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to support Canada’s continued focus on reducing the introduction and further spread of COVID-19 by decreasing the risk of importing cases from outside the country; continue applying stringent measures to reduce the spread by persons who do not have symptoms on arrival at the border as well as symptomatic entrants; make non-substantive changes to provide additional clarity on provisions throughout the Order; and extend the effective date of the previous Order until August 31, 2020. June 29, 2020 June 29, 2020 August 31, 2020
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from any country other than the United States) Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to support Canada’s continued focus on reducing the introduction and further spread of COVID-19 by decreasing the risk of importing cases from outside the country and continue to restrict entry into Canada of foreign nationals arriving from countries other than the United States, with some limited exemptions, by extending the effective date of the previous Order to July 31, 2020. June 29, 2020 June 29, 2020 July 31, 2020
Interim Order No. 5 Amending the Employment Insurance Act (Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit) Employment and Social Development Canada The objective of this interim order is to increase the maximum number of weeks for which the Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit may be paid to a claimant from 16 to 24. The interim order also adds an explicit cessation of effect. The cessation of effect clause applies to this interim order as well as four preceding interim orders that were made using the temporary authority provided to the Minister of Employment and Social Development under section 153.3 of the Employment Insurance Act. June 26, 2020 March 15, 2020 This interim order will cease to apply on December 31, 2020, or the day on which the interim order is repealed.
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States) Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to support Canada’s continued focus on reducing the introduction and further spread of COVID-19 by decreasing the risk of importing cases from outside the country and extends the effective date of the previous Order restricting entry into Canada of foreign nationals arriving from the United States. June 19, 2020 June 19, 2020 July 21, 2020
Interim Order Restricting Pleasure Craft Navigation Due to COVID-19 Transport Canada This Interim Order temporarily restricts the operation of pleasure craft in certain arctic waters to promote the safe navigation of vessels by ensuring that limited marine assets and personnel are available for critical marine resupply operations in the Arctic during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also protects the public interest by protecting health care infrastructure in the Arctic. May 30, 2020 June 1, 2020 October 31, 2020
Interim Order No. 4 Amending the Employment Insurance Act (Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit) Employment and Social Development Canada The objective of this interim order is to expand eligibility for the Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit to self-employed fishers who recently exhausted EI fishing benefits and are unable to start working for reasons related to COVID-19. April 23, 2020 March 15, 2020 This interim order will cease to apply on December 31, 2020, or the day on which the interim order is repealed.
Regulations amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Quarantine Act and Emergencies Act) Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

These regulatory amendments establish that a foreign national authorized to enter Canada temporarily can be found inadmissible, issued a removal order and be banned from re-entering Canada for 1 year if they fail to adhere to an order made under the Quarantine Act or Emergencies Act.

They also create new responsibilities related to public health that employers using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and International Mobility Program must adhere to under the existing employer compliance regime.

April 20, 2020 April 20, 2020 Indeterminate
Income Support Payment (Excluded Nominal Income) Regulations Employment and Social Development Canada The objective of this regulation is to allow workers who cease work due to COVID-19 to continue to receive nominal amounts of income, up to $1000 over a four-week period, without affecting their eligibility for income support payments under the Act. April 15, 2020 April 16, 2020 December 2, 2020
Interim Order No. 3 Amending the Employment Insurance Act (Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit) Employment and Social Development Canada The objective of this interim order is to expand eligibility for the Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit to EI claimants who recently exhausted regular benefits and are unable to find work for reasons related to COVID-19. April 15, 2020 March 15, 2020 This interim order will cease to apply on December 31, 2020, or the day on which the interim order is repealed.
Interim Order No. 2 Amending the Employment Insurance Act (Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit) Employment and Social Development Canada The objective of this interim order is to ensure that these groups of claimants must meet the same income restrictions. It also specifies that claimants can receive nominal income from employment or self-employment, while still being eligible to receive the benefit. April 15, 2020 March 15, 2020 This interim order will cease to apply on December 31, 2020, or the day on which the interim order is repealed.
Regulations amending the Contraventions Regulations (Quarantine Act) Department of Justice Designate ten (10) offences under the Quarantine Act as contraventions. April 11, 2020 April 11, 2020 N/A
Regulations amending the Application of Provincial Laws Regulations Department of Justice Incorporate by reference the provincial ticketing schemes of Alberta and Saskatchewan, in order to allow for the implementation of the federal Contraventions Regime in those jurisdictions, should they want to sign an agreement under the Contraventions Act. April 11, 2020 April 11, 2020 N/A
Income Support Payment Amount Regulations Employment and Social Development Canada

This regulation is being put in place by the Minister of Employment and Social Development, with the consent of the Minister of Finance, fixing the income support payment amount as $500 per week.

This regulation will allow the income support payment to be made to individuals who cease working due to reasons related to COVID-19 and meet other eligibility requirements.

March 31, 2020 April 1, 2020 December 2, 2020
Interim Order No. 1 Amending the Employment Insurance Act (Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit) Employment and Social Development Canada

The objective of this interim order is to manage the extraordinary volume of claims in these exceptional circumstances by temporarily simplifying the Employment Insurance program.

Notably, this interim order provides for a new Emergency Response Benefit that is closely aligned with income support payments under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act. For EI claims established between March 15, 2020 and October 3, 2020, the interim order describes that claims for EI regular benefits and EI sickness benefits are considered as applications for the Emergency Response Benefit. These changes will allow for many claims to be processed quickly by simplifying the eligibility criteria and facilitating automation.

This interim order is not making changes to EI maternity, parental, compassionate care, family caregiving or fishing benefits.

March 31, 2020 March 15, 2020 This interim order will cease to apply on December 31, 2020, or the day on which the interim order is repealed.
Order directing Export Development Canada Global Affairs Canada This Order provides support for working capital and liquidity for micro enterprises in order to cover non-deferrable costs during the current economic crisis related to COVID-19. March 30, 2020 March 30, 2020 This Directive will remain in place for the duration of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
Interim Order Respecting the Importation and Sale of Medical Devices for Use in Relation to COVID-19 Health Canada This order was made to allow expedited access to COVID-19-related medical devices for use by healthcare providers, including diagnostic test kits. March 18, 2020 March 18, 2020 March 18, 2021
Measures no longer in effect
Order or Regulation Responsible Department or Agency Description Date order made Effective date Effective until
Order under Section 32.01 of the Railway Safety Act due to COVID-19, No. 3 Transport Canada This Ministerial Order requires intercity passenger rail carriers outlined in this order to implement mandatory health checks for COVID-19 and to refuse boarding of symptomatic passengers. June 1, 2020 June 1, 2020 June 30, 2020
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States) Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to broaden the scope of persons who are not prohibited from entering Canada while supporting Canada’s continued focus on reducing the introduction and further spread of COVID-19. April 20, 2020 April 22, 2020 May 21, 2020
Interim Order No. 2 Respecting Passenger Vessel Restrictions Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Transport Canada The interim order was issued to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 on-board passenger vessels certified to carry more than 12 passengers, prohibiting operations that are discretionary in nature, such as activities related to tourism and recreation, from operating in Canadian waters. April 20, 2020 April 20, 2020 October 31, 2020, for passenger vessels in arctic waters; and June 30, 2020, for passenger vessels in any other Canadian waters
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease in Canada Order (Mandatory Isolation) Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to support Canada’s continued focus on reducing the introduction and further spread of COVID-19 by decreasing the risk of importing cases from outside the country by addressing newly emerging public health science on COVID-19 that indicates that even asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals can spread the disease. April 14, 2020 April 15, 2020 June 30, 2020
First Nations Election Cancellation and Postponement Regulations (Prevention of Diseases) Indigenous Services Canada These regulations were put in place to provide First Nations councils whose mandates are to expire in the coming months with the possibility to extend their mandate for a limited period of time in order to avoid the spreading of disease. April 7, 2020 April 7, 2020 April 7, 2021
Interim Order Respecting Passenger Vessel Restrictions Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Transport Canada This interim order outlines restrictions for ferries and commercial passenger vessels. April 4, 2020 April 6, 2020 October 31, 2020, in the case of vessels in arctic waters, and June 30, 2020, in the case of vessels in any other Canadian waters.
Order pursuant to Section 32.1 of the Railway Safety Act Due to COVID-19 Transport Canada This Ministerial Order requires intercity passenger rail carriers outlined in this order to implement mandatory health checks for COVID-19 and to refuse boarding of symptomatic passengers. March 27, 2020

March 30, 2020

(at noon Eastern Daylight Time)

April 30, 2020
Interim Order to Prevent Certain Persons from Boarding Flights in Canada due to COVID-19 Transport Canada This order establishes the requirement for mandatory health checks and refusal of boarding for all domestic and outbound travel in Canada. March 27, 2020

March 30, 2020

(at noon Eastern Daylight Time)

April 9, 2020
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from any country other than the United States) Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to broaden the list of foreign nationals who are permitted entry to Canada by any mode of travel by supporting Canada’s continued focus on reducing the introduction and further spread of COVID-19. March 26, 2020 March 26, 2020 June 30, 2020
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States) Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to broaden the scope of persons who are not prohibited from entering Canada while supporting Canada’s continued focus on reducing the introduction and further spread of COVID-19. March 26, 2020 March 26, 2020 April 21, 2020
Interim Order to Prevent Certain Persons from Boarding Flights to Canada due to COVID-19, No. 3 Transport Canada This order was made to deal with a significant risk, direct or indirect, to aviation safety or the safety of the public. March 24, 2020

March 24, 2020

(at noon Eastern Daylight Time, with the exception of sections 6 to 8 which come into force on March 27, 2020, at noon Eastern Daylight Time)

April 6, 2020
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Mandatory Isolation) Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to manage all persons who enter Canada whether by air, land rail and sea, to minimize the travel related risk of introduction and spread of COVID-19 coronavirus disease by requiring all persons who enter Canada to isolate for 14 days from the day upon which they entered Canada. March 24, 2020 March 25, 2020 June 30, 2020
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from any country other than the United States) Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to enhance recent border measures to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 coronavirus disease from being transmitted by travellers entering Canada from foreign countries. March 22, 2020 March 22, 2020 Replaced by Emergency Order of the same name
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States) Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to protect the health of the public from the introduction or spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease transmitted via travellers from foreign countries by prohibiting entry into Canada by foreign nationals for optional or discretionary purposes. March 20, 2020 March 21, 2020 Replaced by Emergency Order of the same name
Interim Order to Prevent Certain Persons from Boarding Flights to Canada due to COVID-19, No. 2 Transport Canada This order was made to deal with a significant risk, direct or indirect, to aviation safety or the safety of the public. March 20, 2020

March 21, 2020

(at noon, with the exception of section 6 which comes into force on March 27, 2020)

Replaced by Interim Order No.3 of the same name
Regulations Maintaining the Safety of Persons in Ports and the Seaway Transport Canada These Regulations temporarily restrict the number of persons arriving by cruise ship at ports managed by port authorities, at public ports, at public port facilities and in the Seaway to reduce the risk of persons in those areas contracting infectious diseases, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, also known as SARS-CoV-2. March 18, 2020 March 18, 2020 June 30, 2020
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada) Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to protect the health and safety of the public from the COVID-19 coronavirus disease outbreak by banning entry of certain foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air from all countries with the exception of persons travelling from the United States. March 18, 2020

March 18, 2020

(at noon Eastern Daylight Time)

Replaced by Emergency Order of the same name
Interim Order to Prevent Certain Persons from Boarding Flights to Canada due to COVID-19 Transport Canada This order was made to deal with a significant risk, direct or indirect, to aviation safety or the safety of the public. March 17, 2020

March 18, 2020

(at noon Eastern Daylight Time, except Sections 6 to 10 which come into force on March 19, 2020)

Replaced by interim Order No. 2 of the same name
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease in Canada Order Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to protect the health of exposed travellers as well as the health and safety of the general public from the COVID-19 coronavirus disease outbreak through heightened oversight of all individuals arriving to Canada from areas with a high contagion risk, as part of the Government of Canada’s action to bring Canadians home. February 17, 2020 February 17, 2020 April 30, 2020
Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to 2019-nCoV Acute Respiratory Disease in Canada Order Public Health Agency of Canada This order was made to protect the health of exposed travellers as well as the health and safety of the general public from the 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease outbreak through heightened oversight of all individuals arriving to Canada from Hubei Province, China as part of the Government of Canada’s action to bring Canadians home. February 3, 2020 February 3, 2020 March 31, 2020
Draft Legislative Proposals

 

The Government of Canada publishes draft legislative proposals, outlining potential solutions that the Government could implement to address important issues related to COVID-19. Read the draft legislative proposals below:

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