The Process of Reopening Canada Proves Complex

Gordon Eberwein
2 min readMay 12, 2020


The Novel Coronavirus pandemic continues to cause economic hardship in many places, including Canada. As May rapidly approaches, different Provinces maintain variable reopening timetables. Considerable debate surrounds the relaxation of shutdown mandates.

A Shared Complex Problem

All provinces have implemented some restrictions on most business activities during the pandemic. Additionally, restrictions on nonessential travel apply nationwide. Social distancing remains in effect in most communities.

Provinces Not Presently Contemplating Reopening

Currently, most of Western Canada, far Northern Canada, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador maintain shutdown orders in place for the near future. All non-essential businesses in these provinces remain closed, except for British Columbia (which issued only voluntary shutdown orders for some businesses). Officials in British Columbia indicated emergency public health orders remain ongoing, but they will allow those businesses which closed voluntarily to reopen. Health officials urge residents in these provinces (including B.C.) to refrain from nonessential travel at this time.

Provinces With Reopening Plans Outlined

A few Canadian provinces have already prepared plans to phase in reopening at some future time, but have not yet chosen to initiate these measures. These provinces include Quebec and Ontario. The latter anticipates starting the reopening process on May 11th, contingent upon an evaluation by epidemiology experts.

Provinces With Reopening Plans Underway

Three provinces reportedly have begun reopening. Saskatchewan developed a five-part reopening program scheduled to commence on May 4th. It does not currently have any domestic travel limitations, but will retain restrictions on nonessential travel across its borders. Some elective procedures will resume on the 4th, followed by the reopening of certain outdoor recreational activities deemed “low risk” on the 15th. Retail outlets and salons reopen on the 19th of the month, barring any setbacks.

New Brunswick began reopening on April 24th, but prohibitions against nonessential travel remain in place. Extensive reopening restrictions apply, so reopening enterprises should consult industry specific local regulations. It appears golf courses, parks, and public beaches have resumed operation.

Prince Edward Island will permit the resumption of non-contact outdoor recreational activities and elective surgeries on May 1st. Additional reopening occurs on May 22nd. Restrictions on non-essential travel remain in place.



Gordon Eberwein

Gordon Eberwein is a distinguished entrepreneur, executive leader, and innovator. Outside of work, he is passionate about travel and food.