Immigrant Centre is open for in-person services.

News

Useful information for newcomers regarding COVID-19 in Canada

(Remember to refresh your browser when opening this page, to see the latest updates)

We will periodically update this page with additional resources, information and links on COVID-19 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Canada. Resources updated in the last 48 hours are marked with a New! label

At Immigrant Centre Manitoba (New!)

New! All staff are required to wear face masks when working with a client in their offices, or in common areas like hallways. Clients are strongly encouraged to wear a face mask, if possible.

We are open and offering in-person services! If you come in person, you will need to follow these guidelines.

  • Front desk: Our front desk is available Monday to Thursday, 8:30 am to 8:30 pm, and Friday to Saturday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  • Settlement and Employment services: Our office hours for in-person Settlement services are Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, and for Language Bank services are Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4 pm. Employment services are available by appointment only.
  • Classes and workshops: Some online services will remain available after 4:30 pm and/or on Saturdays, including our AEC English Conversation Classes, and Citizenship classes. Registration for AEC English Conversation Classes is available in person Tuesday to Thursday, 8:30 am to 8:30 pm, and Friday to Saturday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  • New! Nutrition Services: Our next in-person Cooking Matters session will start in October 2020. Visit our Nutrition Services page for more information.

If you are unable to come due to COVID-19 self-isolation, COVID-19 symptoms, or because you must stay at home due to COVID-19 related closures, you can access our services online:

  • Click here to register online as a new client, or email us at frontdesk@icmanitoba.com.
  • Click here to request a verification of translation, a certified true copy, or a letter to Manitoba Health Services to confirm your physical address.
  • Register for our online English conversation classes here.

Social distancing and washing your hands

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is:

Think you may have COVID-19? Here is a self-assessment tool to find out what to do. Visit the Government of Manitoba COVID-19 page for more tips and information.

Immigration Partnership Winnipeg shared various multilingual factsheets on their COVID-19 website, including facts about COVID-19, how to know if you need to get tested, social distancing, and self isolation, among other related topics.

Travel and immigration

All Canadian borders (including airports) remain closed to all non-Canadians and non-permanent residents with the exception of immediate family (spouses, underage children, and the parents of underage children) of Canadian citizens.

Effective March 25 at midnight, all travelers are required by law to self-quarantine. It is strictly forbidden to stop at the grocery store or to take public transit.

New! Biometrics exemption: Effective September 22, foreign nationals who have previously given their biometrics in support of an immigration application within the last 10 years are exempt from the requirement to give their biometrics in support of their pending or new application for permanent residence. Learn more here.

For Canadians and permanent residents

  • Canadians are asked to avoid all non-essential travel. Click here to learn more, including what to do if you must travel and/or if you are already abroad.
  • IRCC created a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the impact of closures on immigration and permit applications, renewals, remaining in Canada, and entering Canada.
  • More resources by IRCC on how you may be affected by COVID-19 related closures, including 90 day extensions on deadlines to submit documents.
  • IRCC created a Frequently Asked Questions page regarding CERB and immigration, including whether you can apply as a non-citizen, and whether it would affect family sponsorship.

For temporary foreign workers

IRCC developed a COVID-19 guide for temporary foreign workers in Canada.

For temporary residents already in Canada

For those approved to come to Canada as temporary or permanent residents

  • IRCC created a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the impact of closures on immigration and permit applications, renewals, remaining in Canada, and entering Canada.
  • Exemptions to the air travel restrictions apply to foreign nationals including:
    • seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers
    • international students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020
    • permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 16, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada
  • Click here to learn more and to verify if these exemptions apply to you.

State of emergency in Manitoba

Provincial Response Level: CAUTION. Click here to learn more about the Manitoba Provincial Response Level system.

The following requirements and guidelines are in place:

  • Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are permitted.
  • Kindergarten to Grade 8 students and students with special learning needs will participate in in-class learning five days per week.
  • Students in grades 9 to 12 will be in class to the greatest extent possible. Remote learning for high school students may vary from school to school, depending on the ability to physically distance including in classrooms, hallways and other areas.
  • Businesses may fully operate within normal occupancy levels indoors and outdoors; however, there may not be self-service buffet services.
  • Family child-care homes and child-care centres may be able to open and work toward safely increasing their operations to full regular licensing capacity while still meeting directives outlined by public health.
  • Fourteen days of self-isolation is required people returning or coming to Manitoba from all jurisdictions except, western and northern Canada and northwest Ontario.

On March 20, 2020, the Manitoba Government declared a province-wide state of emergency. Under The Public Health Act, the Province of Manitoba imposed various public health orders effective March 30. The state of emergency is still in place.

Effective immediately, the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg implemented an enforcement approach for anyone breaking the state of emergency orders. Enforcement actions include:

  • public education through education ambassadors
  • written warning
  • ticketing with fine amounts of $486 for individuals and $2,542 for businesses
  • arrest, if necessary

New! Mandatory face masks in Winnipeg

Must bring your own face mask, unless otherwise noted for each organization. Are we missing your organization or agency? Please send an email to frontdesk [at] icmanitoba.com and we will add you to the list below.

The following agencies and organizations require face masks:

New! (Updated periodically) Click here for a list of stores, restaurants and other businesses requiring face masks, or here for another list.

Other educational institutions and businesses requiring the use of face masks include:

  • Grocery stores: Dollar Tree, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, WalMart
  • Baked Expectations
  • Barn Hammer Brewery
  • IKEA
  • Little Jug Brewery
  • Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, including all liquor stores, Casinos of Winnipeg, and the Shark Club Gaming Centre.
  • Parlour Coffee on Main St.
  • RW&CO
  • St. Leon’s Gardens
  • Starbucks
  • Stitches
  • Universities and colleges: Booth University College, Canadian Mennonite University, Red River College, University of Brandon, University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg.
  • Woodcock Cycle

Healthcare

The COVID-19 testing criteria has been expanded to anyone exhibiting symptoms; you must call Health Links to be referred to a testing site. Learn more here.

The Government of Manitoba developed a self assessment tool, which you must take if you think you may have contracted COVID-19.

  • Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms may now be tested, without requiring a HealthLinks referral.
  • Truck drivers, front-line health care workers and their families, and anyone presenting at a health care facility may request a COVID-19 test even if asyptomatic.

Other resources:

Income, EI, finances, taxes, and access to emergency groceries

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Employment Insurance (EI) and COVID-19 benefits

This page lists all available supports by the Federal Government, for individuals and businesses.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is now available for those residing in Canada, at least 15 years old, who lost their income due to COVID-19. Read more about CERB in various languages here.

  • Eligibility: You must have earned an income of at least $5,000 in the past 52 weeks, and can’t be making more than $1,000 a month right now. See full eligibility criteria here.
  • How to apply: Apply through MyCRA or MyServiceCanada. You must choose one; those who apply through both may be penalized. More application information is available here.
    • Click here for an instruction guide from Service Canada.
  • Non-citizens: Permanent residents, temporary foreign workers, international students, and naturalized Canadian citizens can apply for CERB as long as they fulfill the eligibility criteria explained here.
  • Employment Insurance: Whether you qualify for CERB, Employment Insurance (EI) or both, you must only apply for CERB. Once you have received up to 16 weeks of CERB, if you are still eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, you can apply here.
    • For information on obtaining a Record of Employment (ROE) click here, scroll down, and click on the Record of Employment option.
  • The eligibility criteria became more flexible to include workers earning less than $1,000 a month (example: contract or gig workers), seasonal workers who were expecting a job for the season and now won’t have it, due to COVID-19, and individuals who exhausted their EI benefits, or have run out of EI since January 1. Learn more here.
  • IRCC created a Frequently Asked Questions page regarding CERB and immigration, including whether you can apply as a non-citizen, and whether it would affect family sponsorship.

Support for students

  • Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) for students and new graduates not eligible for CERB, EI, or unable to work due to COVID-19. It provides $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities, from May to August 2020. CESB will be distributed through the Canada Revenue Authority. No additional details at the moment.
    • NOTE: While there is no official eligibility information available at the moment, the office of Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, informed CTV News that “The new funds will be available for Canadians studying in Canada, as well as students who are completing postsecondary schooling abroad (…). International students cannot claim the emergency benefit.” Read the full article article here.
  • Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) providing $5,000 towards education in the fall, to students who choose to do national service and serve their communities. No additional details at the moment; more information will be available on the “I Want to Help” platform soon.
  • International students working in essential services can now work more than 20 hours per week while classes are in session. Learn more about these changes here, and see the list of essential services jobs here.
  • Changes to student loans, including suspension of interests and repayments. Learn more here and here.
  • A new strategy to create part time and full time jobs for postsecondary students and recent graduates; learn about these strategies here.

Service Canada

Service Canada shared this COVID contact page for all services that they would normally provide in person or remotely.

  • You can apply online for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) here.
  • New! Service Canada has resumed some services in-person; click here to find an open Service Canada location near you.
    • Important: The biometrics collection service is not available yet.

Businesses

Other support for those who lost their income

  • Benefits: The University of Manitoba Faculty of Health Sciences updated their Get your Benefits! website and their guide in plain language.
  • Water and electricity: Click here if you can’t pay your water bill, and here if you can’t pay your Manitoba Hydro (electricity) bill.
    • There are new scams going around involving Manitoba Hydro bills, so the company launched videos and resources to help you avoid scams.
  • Phone and internet bills: If you can’t pay your phone or internet bill, contact your service provider. Help measures and flexible payment options have been announced by Shaw, Bell MTS, Telus, Rogers, Virgin, and Fido.
  • Food: If you don’t have food, access Winnipeg Harvest for groceries, or Agape Table and Siloam Mission for meals. Additional resources may be available at West Central Women’s Resource Centre (women only), Elmwood Community Centre, North End Women’s Centre (women only) . You can also visit the Winnipeg School Division’s Access to Food page for more info.
    • Click here for information on a food bank for pets.
  • Credit card payments and other loans: Canada’s six largest banks (BMO, CIBC, RBC, TD, Scotiabank, and National Bank) will work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis with measures including up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other debt. Please contact your bank directly for more information.
  • Managing your debt: The Credit Counselling Society will host the free webinar “Planning for Emergency Reduced Income”. Registration required – register here.
  • Mortgage payments: If you are paying a mortgage, read here about mortgage deferrals.
  • Rent payments: Tips and resources prepared by FearlessR2W – Circle of Support to help Manitoba tenants.
  • Canada Child Benefit: The Canada Child Benefit will be temporarily increased by $300 per child. If you haven’t applied, file your tax return as soon as possible, and apply for the benefit here.
    • If you already applied, there is no need to reapply.

Taxes

  • The tax filing deadline has been postponed to June 1, 2020.
  • The deadline to pay taxes based on your tax return has been postponed to August 31, 2020.
  • New residents who do not have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) are asked to wait if their application is not urgent. If it is urgent, please click here and then click on the Social Insurance Number tab for information on urgent applications.

More information

Immigration Partnership Winnipeg and the Ethnocultural Council of Manitoba created a list of benefits and resources available to newcomers in Manitoba during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provincial and municipal services

Schools and child care centres

  • New! K-12 schools will resume activities in-classroom in September 2020. Click here to learn more.
    • The use of face masks is mandated on school buses.
    • Students and staff in grades 4 to 12 must wear face masks where it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.
    • Visit the Manitoba Education page frequently for updates.
  • Licensed child-care centres will suspend services from the end-of-day on March 20 until further notice.
    • Home-based child care centres will remain open because they have smaller number of children.  
  • Parents who provide essential services, such as front-line health-care providers, will have a way to continue to access child-care options and should contact 204-945-0776, 1-888-213-4754 (toll-free) or cdcinfo@gov.mb.ca as soon as possible.
  • All parents who went back to work as of May 4th can use the Province’s child care online search tool here.

Manitoba Health

If you need a Manitoba Health card, please note that the Manitoba Health’s office at 300 Carlton St. will be temporarily closed to the public. You can register through email, phone, fax and mail.  Forms and contact information can be found here.

City of Winnipeg services, including Libraries

The City of Winnipeg will resume various services including outdoors pools, wading pools, limited services at libraries, and limited Leisure Guide programs and summer camps. Please check their website for updates to service suspensions and their online services. Visit the City of Winnipeg’s FAQ on COVID-19, and their general COVID-19 page.

  • Winnipeg Public Library branches continue to offer resources online. Click here to learn more.
  • Apply for a temporary Winnipeg Public Library card here if you can’t visit a branch in person (note: online library cards are only valid for online services).
  • City of Winnipeg spring street/sidewalk cleaning schedule online

Doing our part to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Federal and provincial health authorities have stressed out the importance of the following measures to stop the spread of Coronavirus:

Need help or deliveries?

Manitoba is partnering with North Forge (our neighbours on Adelaide St!) to create an online tool called https://helpnextdoormb.ca/  where you can ask for help, or volunteer to help others.

Enforcement of public health orders

Effective immediately, the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg implemented an enforcement approach for anyone breaking the state of emergency orders. Enforcement actions include:

  • public education through education ambassadors
  • written warning
  • ticketing with fine amounts of $486 for individuals and $2,542 for businesses
  • arrest, if necessary

Additional resources for individuals and families staying at home

We will update this section periodically with useful information for newcomers in Manitoba.

  • Need someone to help you? Or, want to help someone in your community?
    • Manitoba is partnering with North Forge (our neighbours on Adelaide St!) to create an online tool called https://helpnextdoormb.ca/  where you can ask for help, or volunteer to help others.
  • Join the Caremongering Facebook group managed by the South Winnipeg Family Information Centre.

Physical and mental health

Free online courses, and schools in Winnipeg

Leisure and active life

Coping resources for individuals and families

Job postings

Newcomer sector and other resources by service providers