January 25, 2021

Volume XI, Number 25

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January 22, 2021

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Québec Imposes Strict COVID-19 Lockdown Measures and an Overnight Curfew Through February 8, 2021

On January 6, 2021, the Québec government announced new COVID-19 restrictions that will take effect from January 9, 2021, through February 8, 2021.

The primary measure, which Premier François Legault described as an “electroshock” to curb the spread of COVID-19, is the imposition of an overnight curfew. The government will enforce an overnight curfew between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. In the wake of similar COVID-19-related lockdown measures in France and Great Britain, Québec will become the first Canadian province to impose such a curfew. Police officers will have the power to intercept individuals found outside during the curfew hours and to issue fines ranging from $1,000 to $6,000 to those who cannot show a valid reason for breaking curfew.

In addition, regardless of the nature of the business, remote work will be mandatory for individuals who work in offices, unless “their presence [is] necessary to pursue the organization’s activities.” Under the confinement mandate, employers will have to show a compelling need to have employees present at any time in the workplace (for example, production employees are likely to qualify).

According to the government’s announcement, manufacturers and construction companies must reduce their activities “to a minimum to complete commitments.” This is in contrast to what Premier Legault announced during his press conference. Initially, he indicated that manufacturers should limit their production to only what is essential. Given these differing instructions, we will continue to monitor the situation and await the official government decree to be published in order to determine to what extent these new restrictions will impact manufacturers.

Further, the government will extend measures initially announced before the holidays concerning commercial retailers through February 8, 2021. It should be noted that, similar to Ontario, retailers will now be allowed to provide curbside pickup services.

With respect to schools, the government announced that preschool and elementary schools would reopen as planned on January 11, 2021. However, high schools will remain closed until January 18, 2021. Educational childcare services (or daycare centres) will be allowed to remain open, but “[d]rop-in daycare centres remain closed.”

What This Means for Employers

In light of the government’s guidance, employers may want to take the following steps:

  • Make remote work mandatory, barring a compelling reason not to do so.

  • Provide letters of “safe passage” to employees who are required to work or travel to work during curfew hours, or work outside their home when remote work is not possible.

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© 2020, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 11
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About this Author

Lucie Guimond Labor & Employment Attorney Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart Montréal, Canada
Managing Partner

Lucie Guimond is a Montréal-based lawyer, called to the Bar (Québec) in 1989.

Her well-established practice is exclusively focused on labour and employment law, and includes advocacy and advisory work for both provincially and federally regulated employers in the private and public sectors.

Backed by 30 years of experience, Lucie counsels her clients with respect to individual and collective labour relations, health and safety, privacy law and access to information as well as human rights. She is notably a leading lawyer on worker’s compensation issues.

Lucie is...

514-236-3861
Ryan Martin Labour & Employment Attorney Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart Montréal, Canada
Associate

Ryan Martin is a Montreal-based lawyer called to the bar (Quebec) in 2016.

Ryan’s practice focuses exclusively on labour and employment law for both provincially and federally regulated employers. He counsels his clients with respect to dismissals, layoffs, health and safety in the workplace, work related accidents, employment standards, human rights and labour relations. Ryan also reviews and prepares non-competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements.

Regarded by his clients for his practical and strategic advice, Ryan offers more than just legal advice by...

514-552-9517
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