Temporary Aid for Workers Program
This program offers financial assistance to meet the needs of workers who, because they are in isolation to stem the spread of COVID-19, cannot earn their full work income and are not eligible for other financial assistance programs. The program is offered by the Government of Québec, in partnership with the Red Cross. Applications commenced on March 19, 2020.
This program is for workers who reside in Quebec and are in isolation because they have either contracted the virus or present symptoms, have been in contact with an infected person, or have returned from abroad. These workers are not receiving compensation from their employer and do not have private insurance. An eligible person is entitled to a lump-sum of $573$ per week, for a period of 14 days in insolation. The coverage can be extended to a maximum of 28 days.
Minimum Wage Increase
Effective May 1, 2020:
- The general minimum wage rate will increase to $13.10 an hour (+60 cents).
- The minimum wage for workers making tips will go up to $10.45 an hour (+40 cents).
- The minimum wage for people engaged solely in picking raspberries or strawberries during a given pay period will increase to $3.89 (+18 cents) and $1.04 (+5 cents) per kilogram, respectively.
The full announcement is available here.
The Government of Québec ordered the temporary closure of all non-essential businesses on March 23. The measure is in effect until April 13. For more workplace-related information in French click here, and for English click here. Québec is also temporarily changing the hours and days of admission to certain commercial establishments, which will be in force from April 5 to May 1, 2020, including the Easter holiday. More details are available here.
Businesses and Essential Services
The Gouvernement du Québec has ordered the closing of all non-essential stores and services as of Wednesday, March 25, 2020 until April 13, 2020. Businesses are still able to operate via teleworking and e-commerce. A list of what businesses and services are considered essential is available at this link.
The Gouvernement du Québec has ordered the closure of all daycare services (childcare centres, as well as subsidized, non-subsidized, family and non-regulated daycare centres) and learning institutions (elementary and secondary schools, vocational training and adult education centres, private schools, CEGEPs, colleges and universities) until May 1. Public schools are not expected to offer online courses.
Open School was developed as a resource for children of all ages to access educational materials from home. This resource is available here.
For further information on Quebec schools, click here.
Support for University Students
Several universities have set up financial aid options for students impacted by COVID-19. Students must apply through their university.
Further details are available through the universities, including; McGill University, Concordia University, Université de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke, Université Laval, and Université du Québec à Montréal.
Communications with public health authorities:
- General information: 811
- If you are suffering symptoms: 1-877-644-4545
What do to if you show symptoms:
- Call 1-877-644-4545
- Do not go to a medical clinic unless you have first obtained an appointment.
- Visit the emergency room only if you have difficulty breathing.
- Before you go to the emergency room contact 1-877-644-4545,if your condition allows it.
- If you are a traveller who has returned from abroad within the last 14days, mention it. You will be given directions and told what precautions to take, such as wearing a mask, using personal transportation or an ambulance, and so on. Moreover, the hospital will be notified of your arrival.
- More detailed information is available at this link.
The Gouvernement du Québec has published a COVID-19 Self-Care Guide, providing information on prevention, treatment, advice for the workplace, and how to care for children and the elderly. The Guide is available at this link.
Walk-in Screening Clinic
A walk-in clinic for COVID-19 testing was opened at the Place des Festivals on March 23. It is open from 8am to 8 pm and offers 27 registration stations, 14 triage stations, and 30 screening stations.
Service is limited to individuals who present symptoms only (fever, cough, respiratory problems), have returned from abroad in the last 14 days, are in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or with a symptomatic traveller.
Public Health Directives
It is vital that we all thoroughly comply with public health directives. Directives have been issued regarding returning travellers, events, businesses and restaurants, hospital visitors, seniors, vulnerable adults, and Indigenous communities. These directives are regularly updated by the Government of Québec and are available online. Information for food establishments is available here.
The Government of Quebec is asking not to travel between regions and to stay home. Travel should be confined to trips for medical reasons and work when teleworking is not possible. To this end, to protect certain regions that are more vulnerable, checkpoints will be set up on main roads leading to sensitive health regions and territories. The list of the regions and territories is available here.
Emergency Financial Measures
Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (Government of Québec)
The Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE) offers guaranteed loans to businesses “whose liquidity is affected by the repercussions of COVID-19”. The minimum funding amount is $50,000. The program is managed by Investissement Québec.
More information is available at 1-844-474-6367 or at this link.
Deferral of tax fillings
Rent and moving dwellings: No policy has been communicated as of yet.
Evictions and Repossession of Dwellings
The Régie du Logement has suspended the “effects of any decision by the Régie du logement or any judgment by a tribunal authorizing the repossession of a dwelling or the eviction of the lessee of a dwelling are suspended, as are the effects of any decision or any judgment ordering the eviction of the lessee or occupant of a dwelling, unless the lessor rented the dwelling again before March 17, 2020 and the suspension would prevent the new lessee from taking possession of the premises”.
Further information is available at this link.
Funerals in Quebec
Funeral homes in Montreal continue to operate under strict new guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus:
- The Cooperative funéraire de Montréal recommends postponing funerals.
- The Coopérative recommends limiting attendance to 20 people.
- Some funeral homes limit wakes to the immediate family of the deceased
- Paperman & Sons’ funeral services are strictly private gravesides for immediate family only. Times and cemetery locations will not be published on their website to restrict attendance.
- Receptions are forbidden.
Funeral arrangements must be made by phone (1 877 677-2230). Forms can be delivered to your home and picked up after signature.
Specific governmental guidelines for COVID-19 fatalities:
- Contact with the deceased is forbidden.