Quebec Bill 44: Legislation that could affect hours of operation

The government, through the Ministère de l’Économie, tabled Bill 44, An Act to amend various provisions in order to reduce the regulatory and administrative burden.

Despite what the title of the bill suggests, part of it could complicate the management of businesses, especially those with several establishments in Quebec. It is proposed to allow each municipality to determine the opening hours of businesses on its territory.

It reads as follows:

4.2. A local municipality may, by by-law and for any commercial establishment situated on its territory, prescribe hours and days of admission different from those determined [by the Government]. These hours and days may vary depending on the time of year, the establishments covered by the by-law or the part of the territory of the municipality concerned.

The local municipality must give notice of the adoption of a by-law or resolution to the Minister in accordance with this section when the by-law or resolution is published or communicated.

We informed the office of the Minister of the Economy of our opposition to this idea. We believe that this would go against the principle of regulatory streamlining, since businesses must adapt to a multitude of different opening hours, depending on the municipalities, of which there are more than a thousand in Quebec.

This bill, it should be noted, will not be adopted because the parliamentary work is coming to an end soon. It could, however, be the subject of a consultation when Parliament resumes in the weeks following the October 3, 2022 election, depending on the prevailing context.

If so, RCC will participate in these consultations. In the meantime, we will continue our discussions with the political leaders who will have to comment on this project.

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