In a press release published Wednesday, Education ministers Jean-François Roberge and Isabelle Charest released a revised Quebec back-to-school plan, including new guidance for mask-wearing and a plan to require the vaccine passport for "high risk" extracurricular activities in high schools.
They also confirmed that in-person class attendance is coming back and that students would no longer have to practice distancing or stick to assigned class bubbles.
Je crois que tous les jeunes et les parents sont heureux que la rentrée soit à nos portes. Nous avons effectué une… https://t.co/E618LA4WRV
Masks will be required in school common areas and while moving through school buildings, as well as on school buses, for primary and secondary school students.
In a tweet, Roberge said there would be assigned seating on school transport.
School staff will have to wear masks in the same situations but can take them off in other contexts if they can maintain a 2-metre distance from others or if there are physical barriers between individuals.
Extracurricular activities will be back, but the government says the vaccine passport will be required for high schoolers to participate in "high risk" activities, though it did not specify which.
Officials have previously said the vaccine passport could generally apply to team sports.
Finally, the government is launching a vaccination campaign in the school system and raised the possibility of vaccination clinics within schools, themselves, though the approach will vary by school, according to the press release.
The press released said there could be further tweaks to school rules if the situation changes.
"The new Delta variant, responsible for the observed increase in cases, is forcing us to adjust," Roberge said in a statement.
"As long as the situation requires it, we will have to adapt to ensure that our schools remain open and that our young people have the most normal school year possible."
Quebec students would've also favoured the Liberals and helped them win a minority government — though a much slimmer one — if they were able to vote, according to Student Vote Canada.
If students were able to cast ballots in the federal election, the Liberals would have won 116 seats nationally, forming a minority government. The official opposition would be the New Democratic Party (NDP), with 106 seats.
🚨The federal election is underway!
CIVIX is working with @ElectionsCan_E to offer #StudentVoteCanada to schools ac… https://t.co/CWQBNTnSu1
While the Liberals would have won the election, they would've lost the popular vote to the NDP.
In Quebec, the Liberals would've won 38 seats, with the Bloc Québécois in second place at 20. The NDP was much worse off in Quebec, winning only 9 seats.
The Student Vote is an educational program that runs at the same time as the official election with the goal of teaching young people how to participate in the electoral process. The students get to cast a ballot exactly like the real thing and the votes are then counted.
More than 700,000 students from across Canada participated in this election's Student Vote.
A recent post on the agency's official Twitter account states that "the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will now be named Comirnaty, the Moderna vaccine will be named SpikeVax, and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be named Vaxzevria."
(1/4) Health Canada has authorized brand name changes for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.
— Health Canada and PHAC (@Health Canada and PHAC)1631805234.0
Health Canada asserted that "these are only name changes. There are no changes to the vaccines themselves."
Canada has four approved vaccines: Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), SpikeVax (Moderna), Vaxzervia (AstraZeneca), and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
"All COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada are proven safe, effective and of high quality," Health Canada wrote on Twitter.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Minister of Justice Simon Jolin-Barrette and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Isabelle Charest presented Bill 92, an act to move for "the creation of a specialized court in matters of sexual violence and domestic violence and relating to the training of judges in these matters."
"We no longer want people who are victims of sexual or domestic violence to hesitate to report and file a complaint in Quebec," Jolin-Barette said.
Dépôt du PL92 | Aujourd'hui, nous envoyons un message clair aux personnes victimes de violence sexuelles et de viol… https://t.co/VnMVx3iLQg
Jolin-Barrette insisted that "culture change is needed in the justice system and must happen."
The purpose of this special court on sexual and domestic violence, is, according to the minister, "to restore victims' confidence in the justice system, reduce delays and better meet the needs of victims with adapted and coordinated services."
The mandate comes out of 190 recommendations made in a report by a special government working group on sexual and domestic violence in Quebec, which was tabled last year.
"You can continue to count on the determination of the entire government [...] to make the necessary changes to better support the victims because I wish them to feel accompanied and respected in their process, to be prepared, and equipped during their testimony in court," said Charest.
If you require resources or assistance surrounding sexual assault in Quebec, the CAVAC helpline is available 24/7. Those who may need support can call 1-866-532-2822. Other crisis lines and 24/7 options can be found at The Lifeline Canada.