Information for Manitobans

Ensuring Safe/Health Workplaces

Public Health Order Workplace Reporting Process

Effective May 28, public health orders require businesses to report cases of COVID-19 in their workplace to the chief provincial public health officer.

Operators of a business or facility are required to notify public health officials if two or more people who work for the organization have COVID-19 and work at the same location.

Public Health Order Workplace Reporting Process Form

To help reduce the spread of communicable diseases and viruses, including COVID-19, workplaces should have an infection prevention and control plan, which may include:

  • encouraging employees to NOT come to work if they are feeling unwell (e.g., coughing, sneezing, fever or runny nose)
  • reviewing sick-leave policies to encourage employees to stay home when ill, to reduce transmission to other coworkers and clients
  • reviewing requirements for medical (sick) notes, to reduce burden on the health care system and additional exposure to ill individuals
  • ensuring emergency contact information is current for all employees, in case communication be required in a timely manner
  • providing clean handwashing facilities and alcohol-based hand cleansers in multiple locations throughout the building (e.g., entrances, boardrooms and break rooms).
  • posting signage in the workplace, encouraging proper cough etiquette and hand hygiene (provincial posters are available in multiple languages at:
  • regularly cleaning workstations and objects with disinfectants that are touched frequently, such as doorknobs, handles, elevator buttons and railings. This includes regularly disinfecting electronic devices (e.g., phones, tablets, laptops) with an alcohol (70 per cent) wipe. Workplaces are encouraged to increase the frequency of cleaning workstations and worksites to at least two times per day.
  • providing boxes of tissues and encouraging their use
  • reminding staff to avoid sharing cups, glasses, dishes or cutlery, and ensuring cups, glasses, dishes, and cutlery are thoroughly cleaned using soap and warm water after each use, or placed in the dishwasher for cleaning
  • following safe food handling procedures
  • removing magazines, papers and other objects that cannot be cleaned from common rooms, such as cafeterias, kitchens, break rooms and waiting areas
  • ensuring ventilation systems are working properly, including opening windows as weather permits
  • using social distancing techniques to conduct as much business as possible, including telephone and video conferencing, as well as allowing employees to work from home or work flexible hours to avoid peak public transportation times or crowding in the workplace
  • encouraging employees who are required to report for work in-person (e.g., health care workers, service industry employees), to take public transit during non-peak times as much as possible to get to work. Alternatively, support employees as much as possible to use a personal vehicle to get to work
  • identifying an area that an employee can self-isolate and develop a plan, should they become ill while at work
  • avoid sharing office equipment or supplies, including electronic devices (e.g., phones, tablets, laptops)
  • encouraging cashless transactions in service industry workplaces
  • To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, do not make determinations of risk for COVID-19 based on race or country of origin. And be sure to maintain confidentiality, should an employee be confirmed to have COVID-19 or other communicable illness.
  • Some individuals may have been exposed to COVID-19 through direct contact with an ill person or in their recent travels, and are therefore self-isolating and monitoring themselves for symptoms for up to 14 days (see the Self-Isolation Factsheet for more information). Contact your local public health office if your employer requires an exclusion letter from work. Any questions about pay and benefits should be discussed with your employer.

An employee at my workplace tested positive. What information should I provide to other employees and customers?

Businesses are advised not to provide any personal health information about an employee to staff or customers. Public Health conducts a public health investigation to determine if someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19 was at work during the time they were infectious.

Public health officials work closely with people who have tested positive for COVID-19. This includes addressing their health concerns and determining who they may have had close (2 metres/6 feet), prolonged contact with when they were infectious.

Public health officials will then directly contact every person deemed to be a close contact, defined as having had significant exposure to the positive

COVID-19 individual when they were infectious. Public health makes contact as quickly as possible with all identified contacts.

If any additional measures need to be taken at your workplace, public health officials will call you directly to provide advice.

What can my business do to ensure the safety of employees and customers?

Businesses may continue to operate in accordance with the public health orders in place. Encourage staff to continue social distancing practices, enhance cleaning schedules of high-traffic areas and maintain thorough and regular hand hygiene and cough etiquette.

The COVID-19 pandemic brings a high level of stress and anxiety as it rapidly changes the way we work, socialize and live. Caring for your mental health, as well as supporting your staff, is important in these times. For more resources, visit the Care for Your Mental Health page.

Many businesses are currently faced with extremely difficult decisions on how to manage their operations when faced with unprecedented business conditions. Please visit the Employment Standards website for information regarding rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

Public health authorities strongly recommend employers suspend interprovincial business travel.  Exceptions have been made for workers performing essential cross-border functions (e.g.: long-haul truckers). Employees who have travelled outside of Canada must self-isolate at home for 14 days upon their return.

Under The Workplace Safety and Health Act, workers have the right to refuse work that they reasonably believe constitutes a danger to their safety and health, or that of another person should they perform the task. There is a legal process that work refusals must follow. This PDF offers a summary of the standard process. However, workplaces with collective agreements in place may have additional steps or requirements.

Before contacting the Manitoba Labour Board, please review the following information. However, please note that the below is only intended to serve as a guide, and for general information only.  
If you are not represented by a union and have questions regarding layoffs, termination and group terminations, visit the Manitoba Employment Standards Branch website or contact by phone at 204-945-3352. You can also consult their Fact Sheet on Termination of Employment.

If you are not represented by a union and have questions regarding job-protected leave visit the Manitoba Employment Standards Branch website or contact by phone at 204-945-3352.

If you are represented by a union, please consult your collective agreement, or contact your union.
To answer your questions regarding long-term leave for serious injury or illness, visit the Manitoba Employment Standards Branch website or contact by phone at 204-945-3352.  You may also consult their Fact Sheet on Long-Term Leave for Serious Injury or Illness.

If you wish to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits or have questions related to EI benefits, please call 1-800-206-7218 or visit their website Employment Insurance benefits.

As of March 27, 2020, The Manitoba government is adding a temporary exception to employment standards regulations to give employers more time to recall employees laid off as a result of COVID-19. This temporary amendment ensures that 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. For further information, please see the news release or contact Employment Standards.

If you have questions regarding your right to refuse work that you reasonably believe constitutes a danger to your safety and health, please call 1-855-957-SAFE (7233) or visit their website Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health (WSH)

Resources for Workplaces: