The Minister of Health of Quebec lifts the state of health emergency
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé tabled a long-awaited bill on Wednesday to end the state of health emergency first declared on March 13, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opposition parties in Quebec have been asking the government for months to end the decree, saying it now amounts to an abuse of power.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of François Legault has renewed the state of emergency more than a hundred times, giving him exceptional powers.
Currently, it allows the government to circumvent the collective agreements of the health network and to award contracts without launching a call for tenders.
According to data compiled by Le Journal de Montréal, the Legault government has awarded $13 billion in over-the-counter contracts since March 2020.
Bill 28, which has eight articles, provides that the measures which were taken by decree and which are still in force at the end of the state of health emergency remain so until December 31, 2022.
It does, however, allow the government to modify or repeal a decree to allow the gradual relaxation of the measures.
The bill also authorizes the government to order any department or agency to provide immediate access to any document necessary for the protection of public health in connection with COVID-19.
In addition, it specifies that the terms of certain contracts that were signed during the state of health emergency may be extended for a period not exceeding December 31, 2022, i.e. five years.
Bill 28 would need to undergo a thorough committee review before it can be passed.
— This report from The Canadian Press was first published in French on March 16, 2022.