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Deconfinement on the Horizon: Progressive Measures for Economic Recovery in Quebec

Deconfinement on the Horizon: Progressive Measures for Economic Recovery in Quebec
April 30, 2020

On April 28, 2020, the Government of Quebec (Quebec Government) unveiled its economic recovery plan following confinement measures put in place at the end of March 2020. For the time being, this plan covers only the retail, supply chain, manufacturing and construction sectors.
 
The Quebec Government indicated that the reopening of other sectors and economic activities that are currently shut down, such as shopping centres, restaurants, personal care services and performance venues, as well as the cultural and tourism industries, will be the subject of specific communications at a later date.
 
RETAIL AND SUPPLY CHAIN
 
As of May 4, 2020, all retail and wholesale businesses located outside the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC) may reopen, provided that a customer entrance opens onto a street, parking lot or public thoroughfare. Retail and wholesale businesses within the MMC may reopen as of May 11, 2020, under the same condition.
 
The MCC’s territory is comprised of five sectors, namely the Montreal, Laval and Longueuil agglomerations, as well as the North Shore and the South Shore; for more information, see the list of MCC municipalities.
 
All businesses will be required to maintain the same business hours as those applicable to commercial establishments during the pandemic. As a reminder, all businesses are to remain closed to the public on Sundays, except for pharmacies, convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants (drive-through, take-out and delivery only) and grocery stores (online and telephone orders, pick-up and home delivery only).
 
MANUFACTURING SECTOR
 
As of Monday, May 11, 2020, manufacturing businesses and their supply chains in all regions of Quebec that had not been previously designated as essential will be able to resume operations. However, such businesses may only have a maximum of 50 employees at any one time on a given site. If a manufacturing business usually requires more than 50 workers to carry out its operations, it may call upon more workers. However, the total number of workers on a single site during a shift may not exceed 50, plus 50 per cent of all workers in excess of that number who normally work there during such a shift, at any time of the day. For example, a manufacturing facility that usually employs 200 workers on a shift may now operate with a maximum of 125 employees for that shift. Only employees whose physical presence is required at the production site are to be counted for the purpose of establishing this limit; employees working remotely are not to be counted. The Quebec Government reiterated that all workers who can perform their duties remotely are to continue to do so.
 
As of Monday, May 25, 2020, these same businesses will be able to continue their operations without any restrictions on the number of workers present. It should be noted that the limit on the number of employees does not apply to businesses already designated by the Quebec Government as essential. However, all essential businesses must continue to comply with the health regulations established by the Direction de la santé publique and the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST).
 
CONSTRUCTION SITES
 
The Quebec Government announced that construction sites across the construction industry will reopen as of May 11, 2020. Construction supply chains are also to relaunch their operations on that date.
 
HEALTH AND SAFETY
 
The resumption of economic activity is obviously subject to compliance with occupational health and safety regulations and the health requirements of the Direction de la santé publique. On April 28, 2020, the CNESST published a COVID-19 Toolkit and a Guide to Occupational Health Standards for all workplaces.
 
The Quebec Government also announced that the CNESST will be conducting workplace inspections to ensure compliance with the regulations established by the Direction de la santé publique and the CNESST. Every employer has an obligation to protect the health, safety and physical integrity of its workers and to take the necessary measures to do so.
 
DAYCARES
 
For more information on the reopening of daycares and elementary schools in Quebec, please see our April 2020 Blakes Bulletin: Gradual Reopening of Elementary Schools and Daycares in Quebec.
 
Employers should also keep up to date on government announcements regarding the evolution of the pandemic and its repercussions on economic activity in the province, as changes in the situation could impact the announced timeline and possibly lead to new confinement measures if required.
 
For further information, please contact:
 
Natalie Bussière            514-982-4080
Francis L. Racine           514-982-4149

or any other member of our Employment & Labour group.

Please visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre to learn more about how COVID-19 may impact your business.