With the expanding list of partial and full business closures, many Canadian organizations are unaware if they can continue operations without penalty and some are taking preemptive measures without a full understanding if they are appropriately able to remain operating as usual.

To help businesses understand how local jurisdictions are defining their expectations, we have compiled of guidelines and recommendations listed by territory and province:

Provinces and territories with partial business closures:

British Columbia

As of March 26, a list of essential services able to remain operational was provided by the BC Government. Click here for an updated list and definition of essential services in BC.

While the province offers a list of essential services, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), has ordered only some businesses to fully close, while others may continue to stay open if adapted services and workplace orders are met.

Click here for the PHO’s comprehensive list of Orders, Notices and Guidance required for any non-essential business to remain operating.

Here is a list of criteria that subjects businesses to mandated closures:

  • All businesses that cannot maintain a minimum social distance of 1-2 meters between patrons

  • Restaurants (except for take-out/delivery; also allowed to use servers to deliver liquor products)

  • Bars, pubs and nightclubs

  • Entertainment venues (theatres, concert halls, etc.)

  • Casinos

  • Personal service establishments (barbershops, hair and nail salons, tattoo shops, spas, etc.

New Brunswick

While the Government of New Brunswick has outlined which business must cease operations and which are deemed to be exempt from closures, there is still no official list of which businesses it considers as essential.

Click here for a detailed guideline on business closures as per the local government’s Declaration of a State of Emergency and Mandatory Order.

Northwest Territories

As of April 10, the local government has now initiated an enforceable order for certain business closures to take effect.

Click here for details provided by the local government to determine if your business is affected by the new order.

Nova Scotia

The province’s state of emergency was originally declared official on March 22 and has been extended until April 19. This declaration outlines the requirements to be met for non-essential businesses to remain in operation, unless they have been given orders to close from the local government. The policy states that a two-metre distance between employees must be maintained, as well as work space requirements for cleaning and disinfecting to take place at a minimum of two times per day.

Click here for an updated list of business closures and adjustments as provided by the Government of Nova Scotia.


As of April 2nd, the Yukon Government created a list of essential services and functions permitted to continue offering services.

Click here for an updated list of essential services as per the local government.

Click here for an updated list of businesses ordered to close.

Provinces where ALL non-essential businesses must close:


As of March 27, all non-essential businesses were instructed to cease operations.

Click here for list of exemptions provided by the local government.


As of April 1, all non-critical businesses and services have been ordered to close.

Click here for a list of public health orders and guidelines provided by the Government of Manitoba.

Newfoundland and Labrador

As of March 23, all non-essential businesses were ordered to close immediately. Under provincial law, if a retail store offers both essential and non-essential services, the business must pause operations of only its non-essential services.

Click here to view the provincial government’s list of essential and non-essential business classifications.


Effective as of March 24, all non-essential businesses were ordered to cease operations. On April 4th, the government announced further closures would be taking place.

Click here for a detailed list of essential workplaces as provided by the provincial government.

Prince Edward Island

As of March 18, the government has ordered a full closure to all non-essential services in PEI.

Click here for a list of all essential and non-essential services as outlined by the local government.


From March 26 – April 13 an order to minimize all non-priority services and activities was declared. The government has since extended closures to remain in effect until May 4.

Click here for a detailed description of essential services and commercial activities as provided by the Government of Québec.


As of March 26, public health orders released a comprehensive list of what they deemed as allowable services and businesses permitted to remain open. Regulations and prohibitions for non-allowable business services were also provided.

Click here to view the current public health orders provided by the local government.

If you have any questions regarding the status of your workplace, please contact your local government or click on the provided links for more details.

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