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Quebec to exempt homeless from curfew after court finds measure endangered safety

MONTREAL — The Quebec government says it will not challenge a temporary court order granted Tuesday that exempts the homeless from a provincewide curfew imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
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MONTREAL — The Quebec government says it will not challenge a temporary court order granted Tuesday that exempts the homeless from a provincewide curfew imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Junior health minister Lionel Carmant says in a tweet this morning that the government will modify its curfew decree to ensure those without shelter will not be subject to the measure.

Community workers and politicians at all levels of government had called on Premier Francois Legault to exempt the homeless from the curfew after a man was found dead this month in a portable toilet not far from a Montreal homeless shelter he frequented.

Legault refused, saying police were showing discretion in dealing with the homeless and expressing concern that some people might pretend to be homeless in order to get around the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.

But in response to a request filed Friday by a legal clinic representing the homeless, Quebec Superior Court Justice Chantal Masse ruled that although the curfew was introduced in the public interest, its current application imperils the lives, safety and health of the homeless.

The judge noted that the Crown did not challenge evidence presented to court showing tickets, which carry fines from $1,000 to $6,000, have already been given to homeless people for breaking the curfew.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press