Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

« Uncomfortable odor»: a municipal regulation criticized

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A fine of up to $1,000 may be imposed on those who violate the regulations. It can reach $3,000 in the event of a repeat offense. (Archive photo)

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The City of Montreal says it wants to modify a municipal by-law, adopted in four boroughs, allowing municipal libraries to prohibit access to people whose “personal hygiene may inconvenience other users”, a measure which has consequences especially on people experiencing homelessness, according to different organizations.

Fines of $350 to $1,000 may be imposed on those who violate this regulation, in effect as of January 1, 2024. These penalties can reach up to $3,000, in addition to a ban from x27;one month, in the event of a repeat offense.

The Montreal Assistance Network for Single and Homeless People (RAPSIM) strongly criticizes this measure , which he sees as another example of an attempt to exclude people who use these places to warm up in winter.

It is the library network today, yesterday it was the underground network, which is our Montreal metro, which also adopts a winter repression plan without any consideration for the well-being and the dignity of these people, explains the director of RAPSIM, Annie Savage.

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For RAPSIM, there are very few places left where people experiencing homelessness can find warmth in the winter. (File photo)

The municipal administration took note of this outcry and announced that it wanted to modify the by-law so that it reflects a desire for inclusion.

Mayor Valérie Plante, whose Ville-Marie district is one of those to have adopted the regulation, indicated on the X network that this policy would be modified, while specifying that staff libraries are experiencing delicate and complex situations, which require better supervision.

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We will reformulate it to ensure that it reflects the inclusion that we want to have in our libraries, argued Ericka Alnéus, responsible for culture and heritage at the City of Montreal.

Ms. Alnéus also wanted to clarify that the regulation does not exclusively target people in of homelessness, and that it applies to everyone.

With information from Marc Verreault

Jacob Côté's report

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