Coronavirus: Quebec adds home building to list of essential services

A file photo of a new home under construction. Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

Quebec Premier François Legault said Monday that home building is being added to the list of essential services.

Many sectors of the Quebec economy have been at a standstill since the government ordered non-essential businesses to close last month.

Legault said the government consulted with unions and industry representatives before deciding to relaunch residential construction worksites.

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“We don’t want to add a housing crisis on top of the current crisis,” he said of Monday’s announcement.

Labour Minister Jean Boulet provided additional details in a news release.

Work necessary to complete the delivery of residential units scheduled for July 31 at the latest, will be allowed to go ahead as of next Monday. This includes renovation and construction work, as well as surveying and building inspections.

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It will also allow for the re-opening of the supply chain for this sector of the construction industry which Boulet says includes many small and medium businesses.

The goal is for those affected to be able to move into their new homes as quickly as possible, while also easing pressure on the rental market.

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Legault said social-distancing measures will have to be respected on the works sites with workers keeping two metres apart.

“Protocols have been developed with public health, to ensure that work is safe,” Legualt said.

The government is keeping an up to date list of essential services on its website. Those seeking more information on essential businesses and services can fill out an online form or call the government’s toll-free line at 1-855-477-0777.

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