Quebec has passed a law that ends the COVID-19 state of emergency today, but the government will retain some extra powers until the end of the year.
The state of emergency was declared on March 13, 2020, and has allowed the government to govern by decree, award contracts without tender and circumvent collective agreements in the health sector.
Health Minister Christian Dubé says the new law puts an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, but the government will retain certain exceptional powers until the end of December to provide operational flexibility.
Dubé defended the law as necessary, saying most of the remaining measures are aimed at allowing for a quick response — such as calling in temporary workers and vaccinators — in the event of a new wave of COVID-19.
Opposition parties had all called for the end of the state of emergency, but they voted against the bill, saying it is a masquerade that allows the government to continue without accountability.
Most public health restrictions have been withdrawn in recent months, although masks are still required on public transit and in some health-care facilities.
The province reported seven new deaths on Wednesday for a total of 15,427 since the pandemic started, with 1,139 people hospitalized with the disease — including 31 in intensive care.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2022.
The Canadian Press