All Canadian provinces have adopted emergency measures requiring the closure of non-essential businesses, and today the Ontario government revised its list of “essential businesses”. To help you keep up with these changes, we have provided a chart below that includes a hyperlink to the current essential service list in each province, and lists the potential penalties for failure to comply in each jurisdiction.

The federal and provincial governments across Canada have all taken a slightly different approach, but all share the common goal of taking the necessary steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 without unduly restricting economic activity.

Businesses are generally permitted to continue telemarketing and e-commerce, and the following services are generally designated as “essential”:

  • Emergency response personnel
  • Public utilities and telecommunications
  • Essential healthcare services
  • Grocery stores and food retailers
  • Pharmacies
  • Restaurants (but not dine-in)
  • Certain manufacturers
  • Members of essential supply chains
  • Childcare for healthcare workers

We strongly encourage all businesses to seek legal advice if there is any uncertainty as to whether their operations can continue (and to what extent). This is important because the penalties for failure to comply could be very significant.

Province Provincial Info Penalties
Alberta Click Here $1,000 fine per offence. Courts may increase fine to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for subsequent offences
British Columbia Click Here Up to $25,000 in fines and 6 month imprisonment
Manitoba Click Here

First offence, individual: $50,000 fine

First office, corporation: $500,000 fine

Subsequent offences, corporation: $1,000,000 fine

New Brunswick Click Here Fines ranging from $240 and $10,200
Newfoundland and Labrador Click Here

First offence, individual: $500 to $2,500, imprisonment of not more than 6 months, or both

First offence, corporation: $5,000 to $50,000.

Subsequent offence, individual: $500 to $5,000, imprisonment of not more than 6 months, or both

Subsequent offence, corporation: $5,000 to $100,000.

Nova Scotia Click Here

First offence, individual: Up to $2,000 fine, and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months

First offence, corporation: up to $10,000 fine.

Subsequent offence, individual:  up to $10,000, and/or imprisonment of up to 1 year

Subsequent offence, corporation: up to $50,000

Ontario Click Here 1-year imprisonment, a fine of up to $100,000 for an individual, $500,000 for a director of a corporation, or $10,000,000 for a corporation.
PEI Click Here

First offence: fine of $1,000

Second offence: fine of $2,000; third and subsequent: fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months.

Saskatchewan Click Here

First offence, individual: Up to $75,000 + $100 per day if the offence continues

First offence, corporation: Up to $100,000 + $1000 per day if the offence continues.

Subsequent offence, individual: Up to $100,000 + $1000 per day if the offence continues;

Subsequent offence, corporation: Up to $250,000 + $5000 per day if the offence continues.

Quebec Click Here Fine of up to $6,000, doubles per subsequent offence.

Many thanks to Jan Nato for his assistance with this article.