Montreal

Some Quebec workers will be allowed to return to their offices as of Saturday

Employees who need to carry out certain activities in person, or who are having trouble working from home because of family obligations, should have priority, but working from home is still strongly recommended, said Labour Minister Jean Boulet​​​​​​.

Employers must make sure the office is filled at 25 per cent capacity, maximum

Labour Minister Jean Boulet said allowing some employees back into office buildings will help businesses and restaurants in downtown Montreal. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Starting Saturday, employers in Quebec can start calling their employees back to the workplace, as long as the office is filled at no more than 25 per cent capacity.

Employees who need to carry out certain activities in person, or who are having trouble working from home because of family obligations, should have priority in returning to work, Labour Minister Jean Boulet​​​​​​ explained during a news conference Wednesday.

But, he said, a work-from-home policy is still strongly recommended.

Quebec's workplace health and safety board (CNESST) has created awareness raising tools and training to ensure people returning to the workplace can do so safely.

Those who are back at work will have to wear a face covering in all common areas, especially places like elevators or entrance halls where physical distancing is not possible. 

Employers will also have a duty to make sure that their workplaces will be safe and comply with guidelines from public health, which includes asking employees if they have been exposed to COVID-19, or been in a place, like a bar, where they could have been exposed. 

"It's also a question of economic vitality," said Boulet, pointing out that having so many people working from home has reduced economic activity in downtown Montreal. 

Having more workers in offices should help restaurants and businesses, said Chantal Rouleau, the provincial minister responsible for Montreal.

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