COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When am I eligible for vaccination?

    The Government of Manitoba is providing vaccinations to higher risk groups first, including medical workers and the elderly. For more information about the available vaccines, and information about when you will be eligible, visit protectmb.ca.

  • How can I tell if a call from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is real?

    The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) may call you if they need to discuss your tax or benefit situation—for example, if you owe taxes, did not file a tax return, or . However, there are many scams out there involving a caller who pretends to be from the CRA in order to get personal or financial information from you.

    Before giving any personal or financial information to a caller, you should first verify that they are actually calling from the CRA. To do this, you should:

    • Ask for their name, phone number, and office location
    • Check that the call you received was legitimate by contacting the CRA yourself and verifying the information the caller gave you.

    There are also some “red flags” to look out for that could indicate the caller is a scammer. These include:

    • The caller is asking you to pay with gift cards or cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin)
    • The caller is asking you for information that would not be included on a tax return (such as a credit card number)
    • The caller is contacting you by email, or asking you to respond by email. CRA will never ask you to provide personal information by email.
    • The caller is telling you you must pay taxes on lottery or sweepstakes winnings.

    For more information and other things to look out for, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website here.

  • What relief is available for seniors?

    The Manitoba government has provided a one-time refundable tax credit of $200 to Manitoba seniors. To qualify for this credit, you must:

    • Be 65 years or older in 2020,
    • Live in Manitoba in 2020, and
    • File an income tax return as a Manitoba resident.

    The government has mailed out advance payments of this credit to Manitoba seniors who filed a 2018 tax return. If you qualify but do not receive a cheque in May or June, you can claim the amount on your 2020 income tax return.

    The federal government has also committed to a one-time, tax-free payment of $300 to seniors who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension. An additional $200 will be available to seniors who are eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This payment will be applied automatically to seniors who are already receiving the OAS pension and GIS payments.

    If you qualify for the OAS pension and/or GIS but have not been automatically enrolled, you may need to apply here:

    https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/old-age-security/apply.html

  • How can I make sure I reopen my business safely and legally?

    The Manitoba Chamber of Commerce has released a Back-to-Business Phase 3 Toolkit that reviews general and sector specific requirements for businesses dealing with physical distancing measures, required safety steps, hygiene protocols, PPE, etc.:

    https://mbchamber.mb.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Roadmap-to-Recovery-Phase-3-Toolkit-For-Manitoba-Businesses.pdf

  • Are there benefits available for students?

    The federal government’s CESB (Canada Emergency Student Benefit) provides support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the CERB or Employment Insurance or are not able to work due to COVID-19.  Eligible students can receive $1,250 per month ($2000 per month if they have dependants or are disabled). The benefit is available from May – August 2020.

    For more information on who qualifies and how to apply, visit the Government of Canada website:

    https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/emergency-student-benefit.html

    In addition, both federal and provincial student loan payments are suspended until September 30, 2020.  No interest will be added during this period.

  • Am I able to take the For the Sake of the Children course?

    Yes, you are.  For the Sake of the Children is now being offered temporarily as an on-line course.

    Information about the course

    Course Materials

  • What if I am experiencing anxiety as a result of COVID-19?

    The Mental Health Virtual Therapy Program is available to all residents of Manitoba 16 years old and older who are experiencing mild to moderate anxiety symptoms as a result of COVID-19.   See Website

  • Where can I find information if I’m concerned about debts as a result of COVID-19?

    The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has a Fact Sheet, COVID-19 Managing Financial Health, with information on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, EI, Mortgage deferrals, family benefits, student loans and more:

    View website.

    There is a Community Financial Helpline providing information on COVID-19 financial supports, income supports, benefits and credits, and credit and debt counselling. They can be reached at:

    1-431-813-4357

    1-855-955-4234

  • How do I keep debt from getting out of hand during COVID-19?

    The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has a budget planner tool you can use:

    Budget planner.

    There is a Community Financial Helpline providing information on COVID-19 financial supports, income supports, benefits and credits, and credit and debt counselling. They can be reached at:

    1-431-813-4357

    1-855-955-4234

  • What if I cannot pay my rent?

    You should talk to your landlord and make arrangements. Tenants cannot be charged late fees. Evictions for not paying rent were suspended until September 30, 2020.

    There is a Community Financial Helpline providing information on COVID-19 financial supports, income supports, benefits and credits, and credit and debt counselling. They can be reached at:

    1-431-813-4357

    1-855-955-4234

  • What if I cannot afford to pay my mortgage?

    You may be able to get a mortgage deferral that will let you skip payments. You will still be charged interest. When the deferral period ends you will have to pay the deferred payments and interest along with your monthly payments. Ask your bank about the effect on your credit rating. For more information:

    View website.

  • What if I cannot afford to pay my Hydro or Centra Gas bill?

    You can defer payment of these bills and your utilities will not be cut off. Late payment charges will not be charged for 6 months. The utilities are also prepared to make flexible payment plans.

  • Are the courts still hearing family law matters?

    Most family matters set to proceed before a Master will proceed. These matters may proceed remotely, for safety reasons. For more information about how these matters will proceed, see the May 11, 2020 Master’s notice here. Maintenance Enforcement dockets are suspended until further notice.

    All family trials will be heard as scheduled by video conference, if all parties are represented by counsel. All other trials will be adjourned to June 18, 2021 for rescheduling. For more information, see the March 17, 2021 notice here.

    For more information about whether your matter is proceeding, please contact your court centre:

    View website

  • Are the courts still hearing child protection matters?

    Child protection dockets are running. Child protection dockets from circuit courts will be held in the nearest court centre (Winnipeg, Thompson, The Pas, Dauphin or Portage la Prairie), on the same date the child protection docket was to take place in the circuit court. Only lawyers are allowed to appear in person, but are encouraged to do so by phone instead. Parents can participate by having their lawyers call them and put them on speaker phone.

    Child protection trials will proceed as scheduled.

    For more information, view the March 15, 2021 court notice here:

    www.manitobacourts.mb.ca/site/assets/files/1993/notice_61_-_provincial_court_-_covid-19_-_resuming_of_circuit_court_sittings_and_trials_in_major_court_centres_march_15_2021.pdf

  • What if I cannot afford to pay my credit card bill?

    Talk to your bank about lowering your interest rate or deferring your payments for up to six months. Ask your bank about any effect on your credit rating.

  • What about my student loan?

    Repayments for provincial and federal student loans are suspended until September 30, 2020. Interest will not be added during this period.

  • Are the courts still holding bail hearings?

    Yes. In order to reduce the number of people present in courtrooms, the court is allowing defence counsel and Crown counsel to make bail submissions by telephone wherever possible. Accused persons being held in custody are appearing by video, wherever possible.

    If you are applying to act as a surety for an accused person and want to address the court, speak to the accused person’s lawyer ahead of the bail hearing.

  • Are the courts still holding jury trials?

    All jury trials scheduled between April 1 and June 25, 2021, will be presumed to proceed as scheduled. However, this situation may change as the COVID situation develops.

  • When do I have to file my taxes?

    Individuals – June 1, 2020

    Self -employed and their spouse or common law partner – June 15, 2020

  • Are the courts hearing out of custody criminal matters?

    As of April 1st, 2021, all judge-alone criminal trials in the Court of Queen’s Bench will proceed as scheduled and in person.

    All out of custody trials and preliminary hearings taking place in one of the Provincial Court’s six main centres (Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie, Brandon, Dauphin, The Pas, and Thompson) will proceed as scheduled. Sentencings in Provincial Court will generally proceed by teleconference. Sentencings where jail time is possible may proceed in person.

    Appearances for offences under The Provincial Offences Act and The Highway Traffic Act will be rescheduled to a date after May 3, 2021. You will be notified of the new date by mail. Fines can still be paid in the meantime.

    PTC/PCC court (or “paper court”) appearances will be held over teleconference throughout April and May. Lawyers will be able to call in and handle these appearances ahead of time. If you are representing yourself on one of these matters, see the January 28, 2021 notice for instructions.

    For more information, including information about circuit court reopenings, consult the most recent Provincial Court notice here, or the full list of Provincial Court notices here.

  • Are the courts hearing small claims matters?

    Small Claims Court will resume in-person hearings on June 8, 2020.

    Adjourned hearings set between March 17 and June 7, 2020 will be assigned to an administrative list by teleconference.

    Call the court if you have not received a letter by June 3, 2020:

    http://www.manitobacourts.mb.ca/site/assets/files/1966/notice_-_small_claims_court_may_15_2020.pdf