On Wednesday morning, Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge and the Minister for Education and Minister responsible for the Status of Women Isabelle Charest announced the province's back-to-school plan for this year. Officials are aiming for the "most normal possible start to the school year for students and staff."
"Our hope is that from day one, everything will be in place for students to return to their school as they knew it," Roberge said in a press release.
The plan will "take into account the fact that at the start of the school year, 75% of the population aged 12 and over will be vaccinated and that a majority of pupils aged 12 to 17 will have received two doses."
It calls for:
the end of mask-wearing for "pre-school, primary, secondary, general adult education and vocational training students"
"the end of [...] stable class groups"
"the return of full-time attendance in educational services
"additional support measures for vulnerable students or those who are lagging behind
"a return to extracurricular activities
"a return to normal school transportation and the use of cafeterias and lunchrooms"
the "maintenance of cleaning and disinfection measures by maintenance workers, especially for frequently touched surfaces"
the "maintenance of hand hygiene routines for students and staff, as recommended by the CNESST
the "continued assessment of symptomatic children and their possible exclusion."
The government will review the plan in August and make any changes if necessary.
"I am convinced that this excellent news will contribute to the maintenance of good mental health in all students," said Charest.
The first Ocean line train of 2021 will depart Halifax on August 11 and Montreal on August 15.
"As it had been done for the other VIA Rail services, the return to operation will occur progressively beginning with one weekly round trip," the company said in a press release.
"To follow and respect guidelines and recommendations from public health authorities and provincial governments, we could not provide our passengers the service and frequencies offered under normal circumstances," VIA Rail CEO Cynthia Garneau stated.
"Our objective has always been the safe resumption of the Ocean when conditions allowed it, and we could not be happier to be able to finally proceed with this gradual return to service in this region."
The bill was first tabled by Quebec's Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafrenière, in December 2020, and it was passed following consultations between the government and Indigenous families in Quebec.
The goal was to meet the needs of Indigenous families while respecting their "culture and language, and also their suffering," according to the ministry.
The ministry also said it hopes "to support families in their quest for truth and also in the healing process."
In 2019, a report by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls called on the Quebec government to provide Indigenous families with information on children who had been apprehended following admission to a hospital or health centre in Quebec.
How does the new law work?
Once it's implemented on September 21, Bill 79 will give Indigenous families access to personal information from "a health and social services institution, an organization or a religious congregation" about the circumstances surrounding the disappearance or death of children admitted to a health and social services institution in Quebec before December 31, 1992.
The government will provide the information through exemptions to Quebec's current laws that prevent disclosing personal information.
Under the new law, Quebec's minister responsible for Indigenous affairs will also have the power to launch an investigation if government information could help Indigenous families, but can't be disclosed because of the province's existing rules on disclosing personal information.
How have Indigenous leaders reacted to the new law?
On June 14, leaders from the Cree Nation said that while the law is an important step to "apologize or begin to compensate for the harm suffered by Indian Residential School survivors," the scope of the law needs to be revised since Indigenous children "were taken and never returned" for reasons beyond medical care in Quebec.
The Cree Nation specified that Quebec's education system was the largest "pretext for the institutionalized abduction of children," and that the school system's absence from Bill 79 means more action is needed.
The Grand Council of the Crees stated that not all Indigenous youth or community members will feel comfortable contacting the Quebec government for help with traumatic events that were associated with "governments they do not feel are their own."
The Council recommended that Quebec put mechanisms in place so Indigenous governments can represent and serve the needs of their own people.
Having locked in plans with his friends to help with the proposal on July 2 and without expecting the Canadiens to still be in the playoffs, McCooeye planned to decorate a beach near the Pointe-Claire windmill with thousands of LED lights and pop the question.
But the Canadiens' playoff winning streak proved inconvenient to his plan because much like the rest of the city, the couple were gripped with Habs fever.
"My proposal plan was virtually out the window at this point, and I really considered changing the date and plan entirely," said McCooeye.
"I was scrambling and freaking out, trying to think of a way to watch the game and also pull off my proposal on the originally intended date and time."
So, he thought, "what if I convinced her that there was a projected broadcast of the game at the Pointe-Claire windmill, which was right beside the spot of beach where I was going to propose?"
In order for his plan to work, McCooeye first had to photoshop an Instagram post that claimed that the windmill was hosting a screening of a Stanley Cup Final game.
"If she was to see MTL Blog saying that there was a game being broadcast at the Pointe-Claire windmill, that would probably convince her," he said.
"Come Friday, the plan was in motion."
McCooeye enlisted their group of friends and even a waiter at a bar for the adorably elaborate ruse. In the end, he pulled it off masterfully.
"We walked towards the windmill, and on our way, we arrived at the entrance to the hidden beach where I was going to propose," he said.
"At that point, she said something to the effect of 'pretty cool that MTL Blog posted about this.' I [...] responded 'oh, you mean that MTL Blog post that you knew was fake and you scrolled through your Instagram to check? Because you might have been right about that.'"
The 100,000 square-foot residence is designed specifically for 300 students, built with custom storage and a workstation in each room, along with two shared study rooms, colour schemes tailored to students' preferences and custom furniture by Werkliv.
Le Mildoré will be the tallest residential building in Montreal to be built of steel instead of concrete, and will only have bicycle parking. The temperature in each apartment will be controlled by a heating and cooling system that uses the building's water supply.
Rent will start at approximately $885 monthly per student, minus expenses.