The government of Quebec déconfine offices [VIDEO]

Le gouvernement du Québec déconfine les bureaux [VIDÉO]

Le gouvernement du Québec déconfine les bureaux [VIDÉO]

The minister of Labour, Jean Boulet, however, has warned that it will not allow the return of only 25 % of employees in a first time.


15 July 2020 13: 20 pm

Updated at 15h46


The government of Quebec déconfine offices [VIDEO]

Pierre Saint-Arnaud

The Canadian Press

The government of Québec announces that it enables the return to the progressive work of workers of office from Saturday.

The minister of Labour, Jean Boulet, however, has warned that it will not allow the return of only 25 % of employees in a first time.

“It is suggested to favour those who have to offer a direct service to the population or client base, and those who do not have organizational or family-friendly telecommuting”, has he said at a press conference, Wednesday, in Montreal.

In addition, this proportion of 25 % does not represent a goal to achieve, but a maximum to be respected, said the minister.

“It is done, while continuing to maintain a strong recommendation to continue working at home”, he said, while acknowledging that this option is not always possible.

Mr. Boulet has pointed out that it will be up to employers to determine the form of the return to work and that it could very well be made in the form rotating.

Ownership of the risks

A guide has been prepared by the CNESST to ensure the observance of security standards in the workplace closed. Approximately 300 inspectors from the CNESST and a thousand of”agents of prevention” that will be on the ground in support of the employers.

“It is a fundamental principle in the field of health and safety. Each workplace has appropriated its own risk and manages it well, taking into account the nature of the risks and health standards developed by the CNESST”, argued Jean Boulet.

The minister has mentioned, among the instructions of public health that must be observed, “the exclusion of workers symptomatic in the workplace, the promotion of hand hygiene, the compliance of cough etiquette, cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and objects that are shared and the ventilation of the premises”.

Dr. Richard Massé, a strategic advisor to the public health, has recognized that this last consideration was crucial.

“It was the demonstration that, when there is not proper ventilation, the particles are in the air will stay longer, so it increases the risk. We asked the owners at the same time that they are going to déconfiner, ensure that the ventilation systems of the elevators are functional. ”

Dr. Richard Massé, a strategic advisor to the public health

Give life to the city centre

For his part, the minister responsible for the metropolis, Chantal Rouleau, has argued that the absence of thousands of workers has a deleterious effect on the vitality of the city centre of Montreal.

“Usually, there are 400,000 workers in the city centre. At this time, there is not a lot. The interest that we have to gradually bring them back to the people and in a safe manner — and we’re talking about a maximum of 25 % for company — [is] to return to the city centre, because he must continue to live.”

“The return to the normal work will have a big impact, both on employees and on the activities of the downtown,” she added.

Although it is still too early to draw up a balance sheet, it said to expect a possible return of these workers, despite the fact that several employers have discovered new virtues of telework.

“We do not believe much that telework would work. In this pandemic, telecommuting to work, but again, works for a number of employees, for some companies […] telework is not suitable for everyone,” she advanced.

The Quebec ministers discussed the plan on the employees ‘ return to work – July 15, 2020


For his part, the minister Boulet acknowledged that the future remains uncertain in such a matter, since the employers have found telecommuting might be tempted to abandon the work from a traditional office space, in whole or in part : “We will have to make the balance sheet of the telework when there will be income closer to a new normal. There are implications not only for office buildings, but the people who are not in the city centre do not go into the shops, are less in restaurants. Everything that is related to the activity of the work at the centre of the city is highly affected at this time.”

The business community half-satisfied

The business community responded very positively to this gradual return, but adds caveats. Thus, the president and ceo of the Chamber of commerce of metropolitan Montreal, Michel Leblanc, says his members remain “very concerned by the situation in the city centre”. “Governments should make every effort to ensure that the centre city is vibrant, safe, easily accessible and attractive to Montrealers and Quebecers”, he argued.

For its part, the canadian Federation of independent business (CFIB) notes that “SMES are heavily indebted to offset the lack of income, pay their various bills and offset the cost of the sanitary measures that the crisis has generated”. The CFIB argues that “the pandemic has forced the business owners to incur debts which have averaged $ 127 000 $ in Quebec” and, although the return of workers in the office towers will provide a boost to the local shops, “this will clearly be insufficient to cover the losses”. “The merchants of the city centres must be able to count on direct assistance to governments”, said the CFIB.

Finally, the Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), he said that he had wanted to see “a little bit more flexibility on the part of the government in the imposition of these measures”. The CPQ says that the maximum of 25 % of the employees “is not necessary, because some areas of work may already allow for social distancing adequate to meet the standards of the CNESST”. He hoped for a rapid revision of this measure.

Le Soleil

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