COVID-19 in Canada: Provinces across Canada have changed their COVID-19 rules and restrictions

·5 min read
Pedestrian wearing protective masks walk walk past a sign urging protective measure Montreal's Sainte-Catherine Street, on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. The Quebec government has expressed its concern over an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the province. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

While Canada continues to battle the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, many new rules are being implemented this week to slow the spread of the virus.

Ontario is notably still in the midst of its stay-at-home order, set to last until May 20. According to CTV News, Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, told reporters at Queen's Park on Monday that the province has been advised to "stay the course" with existing COVID-19 restrictions until case number come down considerably.

While Ontario evaluates future COVID-19 restrictions, a number of other provinces are making significant changes.

There are the new COVID-19 rules that come into effect this week:

Nova Scotia

As of 8:00 a.m. local time on Monday, May 10, the Nova Scotia border has been closed to individuals coming into the province, including those entering from Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

This border restriction does include people intending to move to the province, with no exceptions for funerals and "limited exceptions" to be with an immediate family member who is at end of life.

The following groups or people are still allowed to enter Nova Scotia:

  • Permanent residents returning to the province

  • People who work outside the province

  • Post-secondary students returning home or entering to study

  • People travelling for child custody reasons

  • People who are exempt from self-isolation (ex. long-haul truck drivers, airline crew, first responders, people needing essential health services)

  • Individuals who follow the protocol for travel between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for work, school and child care only

"We need to limit movement within and from outside our province and we need everyone to follow the public health measures like people’s lives depend on it – because they do," a statement from Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, reads. "Work from home if at all possible, get your essentials, go to medical appointments, get tested and get vaccinated, go outside for fresh air and exercise. Otherwise, just stay home just like you did last spring."

This comes after the province implemented a new measure on Saturday, May 8, which requires Nova Scotians to designate one shopper per household.


All kindergarten to Grade 12 schools in two Manitoba cities, Winnipeg and Brandon, will move to remote learning effective Wednesday, May 12 until Sunday, May 30.

"While some of these people may not have caught the virus in school or spread it to others in schools because they were self-isolating at home, the rising case numbers mean we need to take steps now to break the cycle of transmission and reduce case counts," a statement from Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, reads. 

"Public health officials will continue to work with school leadership to actively monitor the situation, and move additional schools outside Winnipeg and Brandon to remote learning if and when the data indicates it is needed."

This come after the province implemented new restrictions, effective Monday, May 9 for a period of three weeks:

  • Outdoor gatherings with multiple households are limited to a maximum of five people

  • Restaurants, bars and patios are closed but can still provide take-out and delivery services

  • Gyms, fitness centres, barbers, salons, casinos, museums, galleries, day camps are closed

  • Religious gatherings are prohibited

  • Indoor sports and recreation, including after-school activities, are closed

  • Retail stores, markets and garden centres must operate 10 per cent capacity, to a maximum of 100 people

  • Malls can be open to a maximum of 10 per cent of the facility’s capacity


All outdoor sports and recreation are prohibited with people outside of your household, or two close contacts for anyone who lives alone in Alberta.

In-person dining on patios is prohibited, only take-out and delivery services are allowed. Hair salons, barbers, nail salons, estheticians, tattoos and piercing, have also been closed.


New restrictions have come into effect in the Estrie region of Quebec on Monday, moving into the "red" level.

This level of restrictions includes a curfew between 9:30 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., no one can have any visitors from another address (with an exception for individuals who live alone), and restaurants and bars are closed for in-person service.

Are any provinces planning for reopening?

On the other side of the COVID-19 spectrum, 70 per cent of individual in Saskatchewan, age 40 and older, have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccines, which has surpassed the threshold for the first step in the province's Re-Opening Roadmap.

"We are able to move forward with Step One of the Re-Opening Roadmap because so many Saskatchewan people are doing their part and getting vaccinated, and because we are all following the public health orders and guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19," a statement from Premier Scott Moe on Sunday reads.

"The road back to normal runs right through our vaccination clinics and pharmacies. I want to thank the thousands of health care workers who are delivering those vaccine shots every day in every part of the province, and I want to thank the hundreds of thousands of Saskatchewan people who have done your part by getting vaccinated."

Saskatchewan has set of date of May 30 to begin reopening, which could include the following changes:

  • Restaurants and bars operating at a maximum of six at a table with two metres or structural barriers between tables

  • 30 per cent of capacity or 150 people (whichever is less) at places of worship with physical distancing between households

  • Group fitness classes operating with three metres between participants

  • Limit of 10 people at private indoor and outdoor gatherings

  • Limit of 30 people at public indoor gatherings

  • Limit of 150 people at public outdoor gatherings