Market overview

On Canada's west coast, British Columbia (BC) and Alberta have flattened the curve and have very few new cases of community transmission. Under strict guidelines, both provinces are allowing retail, hairdressers, food service, museums, art galleries, parks and beaches to reopen.

Ontario and Quebec, on the east coast, have larger populations and have had many more cases of coronavirus. Under strict guidelines, Ontario has reopened some retail stores, vehicle dealerships, media operations, select recreational activities (such as dog parks, water sports and tennis courts) and more health services including private clinics and counselling.

Quebec has allowed retail businesses outside greater Montréal to reopen, providing the business has a door with direct exterior access – thus excluding malls or communal common areas. Under strict guidelines, Quebec is also gradually reopening museums, day camps, medical services, childcare services, hair stylists and other businesses in the personal services sector.

Here is a snapshot on Canada's COVID-19 Situational Awareness Dashboard. More information on the Government of Canada's COVID-19 response can be found here.

To help New Zealand exporters better understand the situation in Canada, NZTE Vancouver has developed a Canada COVID-19 Resource Guide containing hotlinks to a wide range of useful external information and resources. Information at these links is regularly updated, so New Zealand companies can keep themselves informed and up to date on the latest information.

For more information on doing business in the US, visit myNZTE - our free online portal for curated, in-depth information and guidance.    

Economy and trade

According to the C. D. Howe Institute's Business Cycle Council, Canada is officially in a recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Institute, which monitors recessions and recoveries in Canada, said the economy peaked in February, just before drastic measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus were implemented across the country. Read more via this CBC news resort.

See here (PDF) for an in-depth market report from the New Zealand High Commission in Ottawa, from 11 July. Some key points:

  • The Canadian economy is projected to shrink by 6.8 percent in 2020, before rebounding back by 5.5 percent in 2021.

  • Canada's unemployment rate reached a record high of 13.7 percent in May, but is expected to fall to 9.8 percent by the end of 2020, and 7.8 percent in 2021.

  • Canada's annual federal deficit for 2020-21 is expected to rise to CAD$343.2 billion, in large part due to the CAD$212 billion in direct support measures the government has provided to Canadians in response to the pandemic.


Canada has a travel ban in force, which bars entry to all travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the US for 'essential' purposes. In place since 21 March, the ban has now been extended until 21 October by Canada's federal government for public health reasons.

Visit this official page for details on who can travel to Canada during these restrictions. To be allowed into Canada as a foreign national, the purposes of your visit must be deemed essential by the Government of Canada. Essential travel is defined as "travel for reasons that are non-discretionary and non-optional. The emergency orders under the Quarantine Act do not allow people to travel to Canada for optional or discretionary reasons, such as for tourism, recreation or entertainment." As this definition does not appear to be clear-cut, and does not explicitly exclude business, NZTE advice is to contact Immigration Canada to confirm eligibility prior to business travel to Canada. Any documents supporting the essential nature of your business in Canada – such as letters, work orders and so on – should be submitted with your application. New Zealand borders are not closed for outbound travel, but the recommendation is to not travel overseas at this time. It may also be very difficult to get travel insurance in the current climate. Businesses considering travel should check with their insurers. Consider viable alternatives to travel, such as videoconferencing.

On return to New Zealand, citizens and permanent residents should expect to comply to any quarantine or self-isolation measures that are in place – currently this is a 14-day managed quarantine.

Canada updates by topic

Supply chain, logistics and freight
Government support
Government procurement and defence

Sector insights

As is to be expected, numerous sectors have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Below you'll find information on COVID-19 effects across important sectors and industries in Canada.


On March 13, 2020, the Public Health Agency of Canada advised Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada because of the worldwide pandemic and the rapidly evolving situation globally. Effective March 25, 2020 the Minister of Health made 14-day self-isolation mandatory for all returning travellers to Canada.

On March 18, 2020, Under the Aeronautics Act, the Minister of Transport required air carriers on flights to deny boarding to any passenger who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and certain foreign nationals. The Government instructed airlines to redirect international passenger flights to four Canadian airports – Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and Calgary International Airport.

Additional restrictions between Canada and the U. S. came into effect on March 21, 2020 for travel between Canada and the U. S. Domestic Canadian flights continue on a reduced basis with the stipulation that air operators can deny boarding of a traveller who is symptomatic. Air travellers are now required to wear masks which has increased demand in Canada for PPE.

Further aviation resources

  • A website that aggregates the latest news stories, fleet information, and airport log and albums.

  • A general resource for the helicopter industry that posts related COVID updates and links to important documents.

On the ground: hearing from our team

Hear from NZTE's Canada team about what they are seeing and hearing on the ground, and what New Zealand exporters should consider when connecting with their Canadian partners and customers.

Export support
Last updated: 20 May 2020
Video insight: on the ground in Canada - shopping in Vancouver, 21 May

NZTE Trade Commissioner in Vancouver, Matt Ritchie, shares this shopper's eye view of a local supermarket and highlights some of COVID-19's impacts.

Watch now
Export supportFunding your business
Last updated: 13 May 2020
On the ground in the US - investment in North America, May update

NZTE North America Investment, Manager Pranav Amin, shares the latest on-the-ground insights and advice for NZ exporters, in this update from 13 May.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 8 Apr 2020
Video insights: on the ground in Canada, 9 April

NZTE North America Business Development Manager James Noble shares the latest on-the-ground insights and advice from Canada...

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 24 Mar 2020
Video insights: on the ground in Canada, 25 March

NZTE North America Business Development Manager Rod McDonald shares the latest on-the-ground insights and advice from Canada.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 31 Mar 2020
Video insights: on the ground in the US - investment in North America

NZTE North America Investment Manager Pranav Amin shares the latest on-the-ground insights and advice for New Zealand exporters...

Watch now

Additional resources

Below you can find information and contact details for other New Zealand government and international agencies regarding their response to COVID-19.

New Zealand Government agencies
COVID-19 helpline for businesses
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC)
MFAT Export Helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
Ministry of Health
WorkSafe New Zealand

Global agencies

World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.