At the end of October, Emile said police informed his partner of a tip they'd received, accusing the owners of violating public-health rules.
Emile said he and his partner had been filming workouts for social media and training clients one-on-one in the gym.
According to Emile, the SPVM officers told them they could resume what they'd described.
On the next visit, said Emile, police suggested the owners cover the gym's windows to block out spies.
Hours later, Emile said police returned with a different story: after checking with higher-ups, gyms had to be completely closed regardless of who was inside them in order to adhere to Quebec's rules.
The SPVM confirmed that police intervened at Centre U Fit but would not comment further.
Quebec's public health loopholes
Audrey Roy Cloutier, a spokesperson for the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions in Quebec, explained that the official decree says "usual activities where the public is invited" are suspended.
However, it's unclear whether gym owners can continue to use fitness centres for unusual activities without the presence of the public, such as filming online workouts.
We asked Quebec's Ministry of Health and Social Services about this but, as of November 13*, had not received a response.
Roy Cloutier told MTL Blog that if police are faced with a situation that "raises questions" — in other words, could be seen as breaking rules — prosecutors are available to advise them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
She also said each police report is analyzed by the province's criminal and penal prosecutors who make decisions case-by-case — including on the severity of the penalty or fine.
Gym owners continue to film online workouts for social media
In a press conference on November 3, a reporter asked Health Minister Christian Dubé about gym owners filming themselves for online workouts.
"Gym owners obviously have... some of them have been very vocal about the closures, but some are trying to survive by offering online training sessions from their closed locations," said CTV's Kelly Greig.
"Yet, we're hearing that police consider that illegal, even if the owner is alone in their gym. So, why is that? What is the rule specifically on this?"
Dubé replied that he hadn't heard about it.
"Let us check on that," he said. "We asked people to be innovative, and if there is one way to find a solution... Let's look at it."
Horacio Arruda, public health director, added, "What we don't want is groups to be together. If you're using your own [...] gym and it's not your home, I think there is no reason for that being a problem in the public health perspective."
Both officials promised to look into it. Arruda said he would "make sure that it's not an interpretation of what is written in the ministerial order."
So far, no word.
As Montreal's fitness professionals wait for further instruction, some have continued to host workouts on Instagram and Facebook Live for their clients.
Some have even continued training clients one-on-one at their private gyms.
Are they allowed to be doing this? Can they get in trouble for it? No one seems to have a straight answer.
At around 7:20 a.m., police answered a 911 call concerning a collision at the corner of rue Notre-Dame O. and avenue Saint-Pierre, said SPVM spokesperson Manuel Couture.
The driver was heading west on rue Notre-Dame O. when he hit the woman who was biking on avenue Saint-Pierre, right at the intersection with Notre-Dame, Couture said.
Couture told MTL Blog the bike was found about 30 metres west of the intersection, suggesting the woman would have been thrown a similar distance.
The woman sustained "heavy injuries" before being transported to hospital "in a critical state," Couture said, and police "fear for her life."
SPVM investigators were on the scene this morning to find out more. Based on reports from witnesses, Couture said police believe "one of the two persons [...] didn't respect the traffic light and that's what caused the collision."
The scene has since reopened to traffic.
This is a developing story. Check back for more details.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
In a press release, the SPVM said the decision is part of the force's effort to combat gun violence.
The new camera locations, the press release says, "were chosen following an analysis of gun violence events that have occurred in recent months."
While the existing 24 cameras are concentrated in Ville-Marie and the southern Plateau, the new cameras will be in Lachine, the Sud-Ouest, Saint-Michel, Saint-Léonard and Montréal-Nord.
The map below shows the locations of planned and existing police security cameras in Montreal.
Often affixed to lamp posts, the existing cameras are easily visible throughout downtown and on Google Maps.
At the time of writing, the SPVM has only determined approximate locations for planned cameras (in orange), in some cases only naming street spans or parks.
"The installation of new urban security cameras is in addition to several other measures deployed by police forces in our common desire to make neighbourhoods safer and to fight gun violence," SPVM spokesperson David Shane said in the press release.
"It is an additional tool that has its usefulness, particularly in criminal investigations."
In an online FAQ, police say the cameras can help identify crime perpetrators and provide real-time footage in case of ongoing fieldwork.
Denis Coderre's party, Ensemble Montréal, says it would hire 250 more Montreal police officers if it takes power after the November municipal election.
It claims this number represents 84 positions cut since 2017 plus retirements and annual renewals. Ensemble Montréal also raised the possibility of hiring even more officers.
"The realities on the ground have changed a great deal, as have citizens' expectations of the police," Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough mayor candidate Karine Boivin Roy said in a press release.
"For the SPVM to be able to keep up with these realities and demands, police officers must be able to do their job. There are not 1001 ways: we must hire enough people."
Ensemble Montréal has said it would double the number of officers on the SPVM's Psychosocial Emergency Support Team and Mobile Homelessness Referral and Intervention Team.
The new hires are just one of the ways the party plans to augment the police force.
It's also calling for a "major force contingency fund" for "one-time public security events;" an inventory of SPVM vehicles and tools, some of which it says are obsolete; and a restructuring of oversight committees to "bring them to the forefront and to promote fruitful discussions between the communities and the SPVM."
Coderre has long called for body cameras for Montreal police officers. Ensemble Montréal says its administration would launch a call for companies who could supply them.
Finally, the party says it would evaluate public "lighting problems that encourage various forms of trafficking and criminal acts" and start a "broad consultation" on the possibility of placing surveillance cameras in what it calls "hot spots," such as metro stations.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.