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Hi there,

Restaurants Canada is continuing to monitor developments related to COVID-19 so that we can provide you with the most relevant information for your operations.

Here's what you need to know right now:

The Canadian government is stepping up efforts to support businesses

In response to ongoing engagement with Restaurants Canada and our industry allies, the federal government is taking the following actions to stimulate the economy and support businesses impacted by disruptions from the novel coronavirus:

  • $10-billion of credit will be available to Canadian businesses. Finance Minister Bill Morneau has announced that businesses struggling due to the evolving global health situation will be able to access funds through Business Development Bank and Export Development Canada. At this point, we are awaiting further details about this program, but all indications are that foodservice will be eligible.
  • Bank of Canada to cut key overnight lending rate to 0.75 per cent. This will trickle down to businesses in need of new loans, or renegotiating existing loans.
  • Stimulus package on the way. Finance Minister Bill Morneau has committed to unveil a “significant stimulus package” next week, well before the release of the federal budget, which is anticipated to take place on April 20.
  • Dedicated number now available for immediate access to employment insurance benefits. The one-week waiting period has been waived for employees who are in quarantine or who are ordered to self-isolate. A dedicated toll-free number is now available for employees in quarantine who wish to get the one-week waiting period waived: 1-833-381-2725

Restaurants Canada will continue to ensure the concerns of the foodservice community are being addressed as part of COVID-19 response efforts from the federal government.

Canadians advised to avoid travel and social gatherings

While Canadian health authorities continue to describe the risk associated with COVID-19 as low in Canada, federal and provincial government officials have been calling for various measures to support containment efforts:

  • Canadians advised to curtail all non-essential international travel. The federal government is now officially telling Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the country. Anyone who has travelled to the country from outside of Canada has also been asked to self-isolate to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • The provinces are calling for limits on social gatherings:
    • British Columbia has called on event organizers to cancel all gatherings of 250 people or more.
    • Alberta has said events of less than 250 can proceed if risk mitigation measures, like introducing sanitizer stations and a mechanism for keeping ill folks from attending, are in place.
    • Saskatchewan has called for a risk assessment of mass gatherings to inform if events should be postponed or cancelled.
    • Manitoba is asking the public to apply social distancing strategies in their day-to-day lives, which means not being within two metres of individuals for more than 10 minutes.
    • Ontario is advising that gatherings of more than 1,000 people be cancelled or postponed.
    • Quebec is prohibiting indoor gatherings of more than 250 people.
    • New Brunswick is recommending all non-essential gatherings of 150 people or more be cancelled or postponed.
    • Nova Scotia is urging that that any public gatherings be kept to a maximum of 150 people.
    • Prince Edward Island has called for Islanders to reconsider attending social gatherings where a two-metre distance is not possible, “especially if the elderly or immune-compromised people are present.”
    • Newfoundland and Labrador is advising event organizers to use the risk assessment tool on the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website.

House and Senate to refrain from sitting for 5 weeks

The House of Commons has agreed to shut down parliamentary business until April 20 in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus on Parliament Hill. They will only reconvene if emergency measures are to be taken, but during this time they will make sure all government and cabinet affairs continue to run smoothly.

Restaurants Canada has and will remain in contact with ministers of cabinet and their officials to ensure the interests of foodservice are represented during this time.

Additional COVID-19 resources for foodservice operators

We encourage you to continue visiting our dedicated COVID-19 web page where information and resources relevant to our industry are being updated on an ongoing basis.

For instance, download our updated “Crisis Preparedness and Business Continuity Guide”, designed to help foodservice operators mitigate the business impacts of crises such as COVID-19.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Shanna Munro
Restaurants Canada
President & CEO | Présidente et cheffe de la direction