Quebec Government Update - July 1st to 14, 2020

17 July 2020

Mandatory face coverings

Public transit:

  • Since July 13, the wearing of face coverings has been mandatory in Quebec public transit vehicles. However, a grace period will be observed until July 27.
  • This requirement applies to all regions of Quebec for individuals aged 12 and over.
  • For children between 2 and 12 years of age, the wearing of a face covering remains strongly recommended. For children under 2 years of age, face coverings are not recommended since they are potentially dangerous.
  • Persons whose particular medical condition prevents them from wearing a face covering as well as those who are unable to put on or remove a face covering by themselves are exempt from this requirement.

Closed public places:

  • The Premier has announced that the wearing of face coverings will be mandatory as of July 18 in several closed public spaces throughout Quebec. To this effect, the government has issued a press release announcing that people will be forbidden to enter the following places without wearing a face covering:
    • Retail businesses;
    • Service businesses (i.e. pharmacies);
    • Private health facilities;
    • Locations where municipal or government services are offered; 
    • Personal care businesses (e.g. hairdressers, beauticians);
    • Commercial centres; 
    • Places of worship; 
    • Performance venues and movie theatres, etc. 
    • Venues for events such as conventions and conferences; 
    • All common areas of facilities, including those in office buildings (e.g., lobbies, elevators and hallways);
    • Schools (with the exception of primary and secondary schools), colleges and universities; 
    • Public transport.

Individuals with special medical conditions will be exempt from this new requirement. Furthermore, this obligation will apply only to individuals aged 12 and over. It should be mentioned that the wearing of face coverings remains strongly recommended for individuals aged 2 to 12 years.

That said, at the same press conference, the National Director of Public Health announced that this measure pertains to the general population and not to workers on the job. The health standards applicable to workers can be found in the CNESST and INSPQ directives.

The government is counting on business owners to enforce this new measure. Fines ranging from $400 to $6,000 will be handed out to business owners for non-compliance.

Restrictive measures in bars

Ministerial Order 2020-051 imposes three new measures that must be applied by bar owners since July 10:

  • Bars will be required to stop selling alcoholic beverages after midnight and patrons must leave the bar by 1 a.m.;
  • The capacity of bars will be reduced to 50% of the capacity indicated on the establishment's liquor license;
  • Dancing will be prohibited and patrons will be required to remain seated while consuming alcohol.

However, these new measures do not apply to restaurants. In these locations, patrons will be able to continue to consume alcohol after midnight as long as they remain seated.

Lift of suspension of limitation periods

Order 2020-4251 of March 15, 2020 of the Chief Justice of Quebec and the Minister of Justice suspended prescription and civil procedural periods, while Order 2020-009 of March 23, 2020 suspended several time limits in penal matters.

On July 13, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec, Simon Jolin-Barrette, and the Chief Justice of Quebec, Manon Savard, announced the lifting of the suspension of time limits in civil and criminal matters as of September 1. In addition, in civil matters, the time limits for the preparation of the file provided for in the protocols of proceedings in force on March 15, 2020, will be extended by 45 days as of September 1.

Tracing app

The Minister for Government Digital Transformation announced that the Government of Quebec is currently considering the possibility of deploying a mobile contact tracing application in Quebec.

The Government of Quebec will conduct an online public consultation from July 8 to August 2 to ascertain Quebecers' interest in deploying such an application and allow them to express their fears and concerns regarding the deployment of an eventual application.

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