With the new year around the corner and an overwhelming amount of COVID-19 news in Quebec, it would be easy to miss other government announcements for the upcoming year, including new Quebec laws coming into effect in 2021. 

Last year, the legal age to consume cannabis in Quebec was increased to 21 years old.

Dogs and cats in Montreal and Laval were required to be microchipped. And stricter measures were put in place to decrease single-use plastics

Scroll through to see which new regulatory changes will be implemented in 2021.

No more late-night music festivals at Parc Jean-Drapeau

On November 17, the city of Saint-Lambert issued a press release to inform Quebecers that it reached an agreement with the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau and L’Aréna des Canadiens inc. (evenko) to set a noise limit for music festivals at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

The noise level reaching Saint-Lambert from music festivals will be restricted to roughly the equivalent noise level measured there when no concerts take place.

Starting in 2021, the city is restricting the number of major events that can take place between May 1 and September 1 every year. No more than 19 days during that period can be reserved for major events.  

There are also reportedly plans to end festivals as early as 11 p.m.

But the press release states that this agreement still needs to be ratified. 

Bye bye, single-use plastics

In June of last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Government of Canada would be banning single-use plastics, such as bags, bottles, utensils, stir sticks and straws, as early as 2021.

The federal government also wants to work with provinces and territories to develop standards for companies that manufacture plastic products.  

Some pharmacy consultations will be free

Quebec Public Health Minister Christian Dubé announced that new services would be offered for free at Quebec pharmacies starting January 25.

While Quebecers who need to extend or adjust their prescriptions currently have to pay for a pharmacist's time, the new changes will ensure these consults are free of charge, whether the citizen is covered by public or private healthcare.

The changes will make it easier to obtain prescriptions for minor health issues, such as birth control pills, herpes treatments and antibiotics for urinary tract infections.

Your favourite vape flavours won't exist in Quebec

On December 9, Quebec's Ministry of Health and Social Services announced that it would be cracking down on vaping, after a series of recommendations by a special intervention group on vaping

Among the recommendations, the ministry stated it "intends to quickly address" are:  

  • A limit on the concentration of nicotine in vape juices, for a maximum of 20 mg/ml  
  • Banning all vape flavours except for tobacco 

Federally, the Government of Canada is implementing part of its new regulatory framework on vaping on January 1. As of the first day of the new year, refillable vaping products and their parts must be packaged in child-resistant containers. 

Quebec's minimum wage will rise slightly

The Quebec government announced that the provincial minimum wage would be increasing by $0.40 per hour as of May 2021, bringing Quebec's minimum wage to $13.50 per hour.

The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity said the change would affect 287,000 Quebecers — 57% of whom are women.

The increase will raise the minimum wage of Quebec workers who are renumerated with tips to $10.80 per hour — an increase of $0.35 cents. 

Off-island public transportation will cost more 

Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Regional Transportation Authority (ARTM) announced it would be overhauling and simplifying the rates of various public transit agencies in Greater Montreal.

Montrealers travelling to the South Shore and Laval will have to pay slightly more for their fares.

The ARTM also said it has begun looking into "social pricing" for its transit agencies and it will receive recommendations around this topic in the summer of 2021.

Hydro Quebec costs will go up

In November, Hydro Quebec announced that Quebecers' electricity bills would rise slightly in 2021.

The crown corporation made the announcement after a one-year rate freeze under Bill 34. As of April 1, Hydro-Québec rates will increase by 1.3% to correspond with the 2019-2020 Consumer Price Index.

Due to COVID-19, customers can make payment arrangements with Hydro-Québec and avoid paying administration charges on unpaid bills.

Hydro-Québec will also continue to delay service interruptions for Quebecers with unpaid bills until March 31, 2021.

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