Quebec Government Update - June 4 to June 16, 2020

18 June 2020

Quebec government measures

In recent weeks, the Government of Quebec has announced a number of financial measures to promote Quebec's economic recovery, including the following:

  • The Minister of Economy and Innovation announced that improvements will be made to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses. Initially, this program offered commercial landlords a forgivable loan equivalent to 50% of the rent. Tenants are required to pay 25% of the rent, whereas landlords are required to compensate for the remaining 25% loss in rent. The Quebec government now plans to compensate 50% of the loss incurred by landlords who are eligible for the program, meaning that the landlords will receive an amount equivalent to 12.5% of the rent to help minimize their losses.
  • The Quebec government is advancing the date of the decrease in the single rate of the school tax to July 1, 2020. This single rate, which is applicable throughout the province of Quebec, will be $0.1054 per $100 of standardized realty assessment for the period of July 2020 to June 2021.
  • During the June 11, 2020, press conference, the Minister of Tourism, the Minister of Economy and Innovation and the Minister of Finance jointly announced a $750 million assistance plan to stimulate the tourism industry.

Gatherings

The epidemiological situation related to COVID-19 is slowly improving in Quebec. Therefore, public health authorities have announced a gradual easing of the restrictions that have been in place since the adoption of Decree 222-2020 on March 20, 2020.

  • Indoor gatherings have been allowed after June 15, 2020, except in the territory of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM), the MRC of Joliette and the town of L'Épiphanie, provided that the following health measures are respected:
    • Gatherings must be limited to no more than 10 people;
    • These people must be from no more than three households. It should be mentioned that this is a strong recommendation from public health authorities and not a legal obligation;
    • Physical distancing must be maintained as much as possible between people who are not from the same household.
  • Indoor gatherings will be allowed in the CMM, the MRC of Joliette and the town of L'Épiphanie as of June 22, 2020.
  • As of June 22, indoor gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed in some public places. Close attention should be paid to the publication of the decree on this matter to clarify the terms and conditions of this authorization.
  • Moreover, physical distancing could be reduced to 1.5 metres in certain places where there is little traffic (CEGEP and university classrooms, performance venues and movie theatres). Children under the age of 16 will also be allowed to be less than one metre apart.
  • That being said, physical distancing of 2 metres will remain the norm and must be respected, particularly in areas where there is increased traffic, for example, in common areas, queues and restaurants.

Gradual reopening of businesses

Quebec is continuing the gradual reopening of its economy, which began over the past few weeks. As such, activities will resume in the following sectors, provided that health measures are respected:

June 15, 2020:

  • Businesses in the personal care and beauty sector located within the CMM, the MRC of Joliette and the town of L'Épiphanie;
  • Business activities in the restaurant industry outside the CMM, the MRC of Joliette and the city of L'Épiphanie;
  • Community organizations that are not on the priority services list;
  • The Institut national du sport du Québec;
  • Racetracks, as long as they are closed to the public;
  • Institutions and enterprises whose mission is conducting research activities that are not on the priority services list;
  • Commercial enterprises that offer direct services to the public and to businesses that are not included in the list of priority services (such as travel agencies and shoe-repair shops);

June 19, 2020:

  • Shopping centres located within the CMM and the MRC of Joliette;
  • Zoos, gardens, visits to artisanal processors and agro-tourism farms.

June 22, 2020:

  • Business activities in the restaurant industry within the CMM, the MRC of Joliette and the city of L'Épiphanie;
  • Day camps throughout Quebec.

July 1, 2020:

  • Maritime excursions.

Education

During the June 16, 2020, press conference, the Minister of Education announced the details of the back-to-school plan for education and higher education in the fall of 2020.

  • Preschool, elementary school and secondary I, II and III: The Government of Quebec plans to reopen all preschools, elementary schools as well as secondary schools for Secondary I, II and III students. Students will be organized into "subgroups" of no more than six students, within which physical distancing will not need to be maintained. However, physical distancing of one metre between the various subgroups of students will be required. Furthermore, students and staff must maintain a physical distance of two metres between each other.
  • Secondary IV and V: One of the options available to school service centres will be an alternating schedule for the return of students, where students attend school at least every second day.
  • Adult general education and vocational training: The Minister plans a physical return to class to allow for practical activities and examinations. The rules of physical distancing must be followed where possible.
  • Higher education: A hybrid approach between remote learning and a return to class in person has been selected. That being said, physical attendance will be prioritized for first-year students and students with disabilities or special needs. The government will allow a distance of 1.5 metres between students and 2 metres between students and the teacher.
  • School service centres must be equipped with an emergency protocol before the return to school in the fall to ensure that students can continue their schooling despite a potential second wave.

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