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Reopening of the manufacturing industry

Apr. 29th, 2020

Québec Premier François Legault and Economic Development and Innovation Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon announced today the reopening of certain economic sectors and provided details about the conditions the affected businesses will be required to follow.

Retail store and supply chain

Retailers whose commercial establishment has a direct access to outside will be allowed to reopen on May 4, except for retailers in the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (Greater Montréal Area), which can reopen as of May 11.  

Businesses that are a supply chain for the retail stores (wholesalers) will be able to resume their activities on the same date, in compliance with the health and hygiene rules issued in the General Guide of Hygienic Standards in the Workplace - COVID-19 (in French only).

The government is also extending until My 31 the closing of all retail stores on Sundays, except for essential retail stores, while maintaining certain restrictions.

Construction industry

All construction sites will be allowed to reopen as of May 11, provided everything continues to go well on the coronavirus front. The reopening will also entail the full reopening of the industry’s supply chains.

Manufacturing sector

The reopening of the manufacturing sector will be done in two stages.

As of Monday May 11, 2020, manufacturing businesses from every Québec region will be able to resume their activities by limiting the number of employees in the workplace in compliance with physical distancing measures.

The businesses will be limited to a maximum of 50 workers on a same work site + 50% of the total number of employees above that for any shift throughout the day.

The calculation formula is, if X equals the total number of employees that are usually there for a shift:  

                                Number of employees allowed = 50 + {50% of (X-50)

The examples noted by the minister are as follows:

  • A worksite employing 60 workers per shift must make sure it operates with a maximum of 55 employees
  • A worksite employing 500 workers per shift must make sure it operates with a maximum of 275 employees.

In the second stage, as of May 25, 2020, this restriction will be lifted.


Tool kit for the manufacturing sector

Please check our web page on the reopening of the industry for all the details and our recommendations.

The CNESST and the public health department have prepared a tool kit that includes a guide for hygienic standards in the specific workplace of the manufacturing sector, a daily checklist (in French only) and a poster displaying the preventative measures for workers’ safety.

                Specific measures on the checklist

These requirements are particularly noteworthy:

  • The toilets must be cleaned on every shift and disinfected every day.
  • The dining area must be cleaned before and after each usage and disinfected every day (examples: tables, refrigerator handle, backs of chairs, microwaves).

Surfaces that are frequently touched (examples: door handles, taps, toilets, telephones, computer accessories must be cleaned on each shift.

It is also noted that, in the event keeping a distance of two metres cannot be done, and the job duties do not already require the use of respiratory protection equipment (RPE) to protect against aerosols or dust, physical barriers (a full transparent partition) must be installed and personal protective equipment appropriate to the risk involved must be provided (examples: respiratory protection, protective glasses or visors that cover the face up to the chin, gloves).

A specific section of the document deals with entering and leaving the production area:

  • Gloves, protective glasses (eye protection) and respiratory protection must be removed safely.
  • Single-use personal protective equipment must be placed in the garbage or in containers or sealable bags for this purpose, and then thrown away.
  • Reusable personal protective equipment (examples: eye protection or a visor) must be disinfected with a product appropriate for the equipment.

As you can see, there is lots of work to do. At the news conference announcing the measures, authorities deemed it the responsibility of employers and employees, and no sanctions have been ruled out in the event of non-compliance.

In the interest of taking the proper precautions, we recommend you familiarize yourself with all the documents and, especially, follow the recommendations included in the document, as much as you possibly can.