Montreal

With new rules in place, residential construction resumes in Quebec

Thousands of construction and renovation projects had been shelved amid the pandemic.

Projects that had been scheduled to be completed by July 31 now considered essential

Construction workers arrive at a site in Quebec City on Monday. Residential projects have been added to the province's essential services list. (Daniel Coulombe/Radio-Canada)

Residential construction and renovation projects that had been scheduled to be finished by July 31 can resume today in Quebec.

Thousands of projects had been shelved amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Quebec union for construction workers and Quebec's home builders' association say they will be inspecting work sites as they open to make sure measures are being taken to prevent further spread of the virus.

"You can call CNESST, you can call us at CSD-Construction, we're gonna be there on the field," said Marco Patenaude, a spokesperson for the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques.

Labour Minister Jean Boulet said 300 provincial inspectors will be checking to ensure the sites are following public heath guidelines.

Rachel Julien, a developer in Montreal, restarts work on about 200 residential units today.

The company says it will provide masks, protective glasses and gloves to all its workers and has split up break times and staggered shifts to give them more space.

"We have tons of people waiting," said Mélanie Robitaille, the developer's general manager, of those hoping to move in this summer.

"Every project will be facing delays, that's for sure. And what we will be doing starting today is to speed up the work so that the delay can be as small as possible."

The sector was added to Quebec's essential services last week. Premier François Legault said he was concerned what the pause would mean for Quebecers who were planning to move this year.

Businesses deemed non-essential are closed until May 5, but public health officials say it's unlikely that everything will reopen at once.

With files from Jaela Bernstien and Simon Nakonechny

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