COVID-19
UMQ suggestions to Quebec municipalities
Article published on 13 March 2020
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The Union des municipalités du Quebec (UMQ) has identified suggestions for actions to take for Quebec municipalities in the fight against COVID-19.

“Municipalities quickly took responsibility, as local governments, and put in place preventive measures to limit the spread of the virus and ensure the health and safety of their employees and their citizens.” Said the interim president of the UMQ and mayor of Sainte-Julie, Ms. Suzanne Roy.

Municipalities are invited to adopt certain guidelines, taking into account the directives of their regional public health administration and the development of the situation:

- Suspend their community, cultural, sport and leisure activities and close the municipal facilities to the public (community halls and theaters, libraries, swimming pools, gymnasiums, arenas and all other equipment conducive to gatherings) by taking if possible, reassign the affected employees to other tasks.

- Postpone any public consultation and other similar meetings. However, the UMQ invite citizens to use the technological means at their disposal to follow the work of the municipal council

- City halls can remain open

- As far as possible, encourage teleworking for municipal employees. Municipalities are invited to position themselves now on the various aspects of telework:
 - Possibility of setting up telework in the organization, if it has not already been done;
 - Define or review the categories of eligible jobs as well as the tasks where the
 teleworking is possible or permitted;
 - Provide for a special policy on telework in the event of a pandemic risk;
 - Communicate information to ensure uniform application.
- * In order to support its members in this regard, the UMQ Carrefour du capital human team provided an example of a special telework policy, which notably addresses the issue of the various levels of authorization to use telework. Thus, each municipality, each establishment and even each service may be at different authorization levels depending on the particular reality of each. “The important thing is to have a known and effective procedure for managing the maintenance of operations,” said the UMQ.

- Adopt travel related measures for their employees:
 - Quarantine for 14 days and pay the employees returning from a trip;
 - Prohibit all trips abroad and in Canada on behalf of the municipality as well as to recommend to them not to make personal trips abroad and in Canada.

The UMQ finally recalls that it is important to “keep citizens well informed through the various communication platforms available to them”.

These guidelines are directly inspired by directives issued by the Government of Quebec on March 12th. It should be noted that the Premier of Quebec, Mr. François Legault, also announced the complete closure, for a period of two weeks, of schools, CEGEPs and universities throughout Quebec.

The UMQ’s “Carrefour du capital humain” will be holding a webinar on March 17th for municipalities on all issues related to human resource management in the context of the pandemic. Details will soon be available in the special section on COVID-19 on the UMQ website.

Les Assises 2020
No decision has been made to date regarding the holding of the UMQ’s 2020 annual meeting scheduled for May 20-22 in Montreal.

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