On Thursday, the Quebec government will introduce a new bill at the National Assembly to "regulate anti-vaccine demonstrations near our schools, daycares, hospitals and vaccination clinics," according to Premier François Legault.
"I understand that it is delicate to restrict the right to demonstrate, but frankly, there are limits," Legault wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday morning.
The announcement comes after the premier suggested earlier in the week that his government would move to restrict anti-vaccine protests in front of some public institutions.
A new study has revealed the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Quebecers' mental health, social and work life and to no one's surprise, we're basically a bunch of quivering wrecks.
Seventy-seven percent of Quebec respondents reported feelings of dissatisfaction with their social lives, but more women (80%) than men (73%) felt dissatisfied.
The study by the Institut de la statistique du Québec evaluated the responses of more than 7,000 Quebecers aged 15 and over.
While many people experienced loneliness and isolation, the study found that women, people under 35, students, and people living alone or in single-parent households were among the groups who were most affected.
Physical and mental health concerns affected the vast majority of Quebecers, according to the study.
Sixty-two percent of Quebecers aged 15 and older reported that they were concerned about their own health during the pandemic. 73% said they were concerned about the health of a loved one "at-risk" (defined as a person "aged 70 and over or with a health problem or working in the health care sector").
In regards to physical activity, the study found that 45% of respondents decreased their activity levels during the pandemic, with 15 to 24-year-olds reporting the largest decrease among all age groups.
And finally, among the vices, 14% of respondents reported an increase in alcohol consumption, while 17% reported a decrease. Four percent of respondents reported an increase in their use of cannabis and 3% reported a decrease.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
The Montreal bar association has been looking into elements of Bill 96 and is raising concern that certain articles could "infringe on the principle of access to justice which is at the heart of Quebec's democratic society," particularly for English speakers and bilingual people.
The association has pointed to five articles in the Bill that could affect "access to justice:" 9, 12, 13, 55, and 208.6.
Article 9 of the Bill, for instance, states that "a certified French translation shall be attached to any pleading drawn up in English that emanates from a legal person. The legal person shall bear the translation costs."
The association says that "requiring a party to bear the costs of a translation" affects access to justice and that there could be delays with processing a translated case report.
"In addition," the association continued, "there is reason to wonder about the availability of a sufficient number of legal translators in private practice."
Article 12 of Bill 96, meanwhile, relates to the appointment of judges in Quebec, stating they "shall not be required to have knowledge or a specific level of knowledge of a language other than the official language unless the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the French Language consider that the exercise of that office requires such knowledge."
For the association, this is troubling because the provision doesn't "take into account the reality of litigants in Montreal, where the percentage of cases in which English is required alone justifies the presence of judges or administrative judges who are bilingual or who have sufficient knowledge of English."
In a statement, the president of the Montreal bar, Junior Laguerre, said that "it is important to guarantee all citizens access to justice without hindrance or barrier, whether linguistic, economic or temporal."
"We, therefore, ask Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette to make the necessary amendments to the bill, so that it achieves its objectives without harming access to justice for all," Laguerre concluded.
The report recommended that Quebec acknowledge systemic racism. It also said racism and prejudice played a role in Echaquan's death.
"The only place where I don't agree is when we say that there's a 'system' because for me a 'system' is coming from upstairs, coming from the top people, and I don't see this in the health care network, for example," Legault said at a press conference on Tuesday, following the release of the coroner's report.
"What happened to Mrs. Echaquan is terrible [...] and few employees, not only one, didn't deliver the right services to her."
He reiterated that people who believe in systemic racism in Quebec don't have the same definition that he does.
"We don't have a system [of racism], top to bottom, and it's a question of fact," he said.
He emphasized the need to "stop dividing Quebecers" with arguments about systemic racism.
"Even [the coroner who wrote the report] Mrs. Kahmel, she's saying that we have not to put all the emphasis only on words. We have to put emphasis on actions to change the situation and, on that, I fully agree," said Legault.
"I'm not sure what it's like to see your daughter, your sister, your mother, your friend, your lover disappear from one day to the next without a trace. And on top of that, to have the impression that your government doesn't really care, or at least not enough. No one should have to go through that in Quebec," Legault continued.
"I'm convinced that the vast majority of Quebecers are ready to fight racism."