By tanya April 7, 2020

For the most up to date COVID-19 information, members are encouraged to visit and subscribe to email updates from Manitoba Building Trades.

Over the past few weeks, Canada has experienced the onset of COVID-19. Manitoba is no different. In both cases, the government has been taking steps to minimize the spread of the virus.

There are a number of sources to stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 news:

Federal and Provincial Supports – Frequently Asked Questions

Manitoba Building Trades News

Government of Manitoba – COVID 19

Government of Canada – COVID 19

For our construction and skilled trades workforce, things have been cloudy, and we have been in constant communication with contractors and project owners to see how our work will be affected.

So far, information has been slow to come as everyone is in decision-making mode and the full impact is not yet known.

  • We expect Manitoba projects to be shutting down or going to minimal staffing.
  • Many projects have imposed travel restrictions and restricting access to those who have been out of the country.
  • Manitoba Hydro scales back work and suspends travel in and out of Keeyask.
  • As we get closures, we will send information directly to our affiliate Building Trade Locals.
  • We expect the impacts on projects and work to last anywhere from 2-8 weeks.


As we all wait for the full situation to become clear, we are making the following suggestions and guidelines for your consideration.

  • If you remain at work, safety comes first. If you are reasonably concerned about your safety or that of your colleagues, you can and should refuse work.
  • If you are at work, please make sure you have proper safety equipment (masks etc.), hand sanitizers, washing stations, and other cleaning supplies to avoid exposure and sanitizing.
  • If you are not getting the answers or expected safety equipment and materials at work, please call your Local ASAP. Talk to your site supervisors or superintendents about working closely in confined areas and what changes should be made to observe Manitoba Health guidelines.

Manitoba Health guidelines are as follows:

People are encouraged to take common prevention measures, including regular handwashing with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds. Make sure to dry your hands thoroughly. You can also use an alcohol-based hand cleanser if your hands are not visibly dirty. It is especially important to clean your hands:

  • after coughing or sneezing
  • when caring for a sick person
  • before, during and after you prepare food
  • before eating
  • after toilet use
  • when hands are visibly dirty

You should also cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or you can cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in the garbage and immediately wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand cleanser.

Avoid close contact (within two metres or six feet) with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing or sneezing. Children and adolescents should avoid sharing food or drinks (e.g., sippy cups and water bottles), musical instruments or other things that have been in a person’s mouth or hands.

Canada’s Building Trades Unions have released initial trade industry-specific guidelines for COVID-19. Click Here.


For unionized members of the building trades looking for more information about your specific trade, please call your Local for information. While you may have lots of questions, we remind you that the Locals will be getting many calls and will work hard to keep up. To help Locals help you faster, please follow the following guidelines:

  1. Please do NOT go to the Local without an appointment; this will help us all prevent exposure and allow people to do their jobs without interruption.
  2. Call or email the Local for information. Unless critically urgent, please give your Local a chance to work on your issue. Tell the Local what you need and give your agents time to work on it.
  3. Locals will also be making plans and procedures for eventual recalls. Please wait for that information as it will be sent as soon as possible.


The Federal Government has launched Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. There are a variety of supports for individuals. Click here to be directed to the government’s webpage.

If you are laid off, the Federal Government has made it easier to apply for Employment Insurance. Apply as soon as you are laid off. If you are being laid off, please make sure your ROE indicates a shortage of work.

Remember, whether you are working or laid off, you and your family come first. Do what is needed to protect both, and even though there are some hard times ahead, we will come out on the other end and put things back together.


Manitoba Building Trades, our affiliated building trade Locals and Internationals, and Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) Ottawa office are communicating daily to make sure the needs of our members are identified and brought to government’s attention at every level.

Visit CBTU News Online for the latest COVID 19 national updates.

We will continue to work behind the scenes to ask for support for affected working Canadians, but particularly our members. As this event unfolds, we expect things may get worse before they get better.

In the coming days, please look after yourself, your families and your communities. We will be here with you throughout and work each and every day to support our members as best as we can.


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