A difficult winter is upon us. With a confirmed second wave of COVID-19 and another lockdown, it’s understandable if life is feeling a lot tougher right now.
Quebec’s healthcare system is at a critical state as cases in the province remain alarmingly high. As of early January, record daily numbers were being reported (at the time, over 3,000 new cases daily ), while the total number of positive COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic has now exceeded a quarter million, as reported by CTV News.
Meanwhile, Montreal remains the pandemic epicentre in Canada — the island recently surpassed 80,000 total cases since March 2020.
With this in mind, Goldwater, Dubé would like to suggest the following measures for keeping your family healthy, resilient and informed during these difficult, cold few weeks ahead — this is a crucial time and we cannot afford to let our guard down.
Public health guidelines are different from region to region, and you should make sure to follow all recommendations. You can find Montreal’s COVID information page here.
For the Province of Quebec, click here.
But regardless of what region you live in, we all need to take the same precautions. Follow these guidelines to keep you and your family safe from the virus.
Wear a mask when you’re inside a public place, or whenever you’re in close contact with anyone outside of your household or bubble. Masks should ideally have three layers of a tightly woven material. If your mask has only two layers of cloth, try doubling up with two masks. Some masks allow you to insert an additional inner filter layer, which is strongly advised. Be sure to only use your masks once between washings.
Work from home, if your workplace allows it. Do not go to work if you’re experiencing symptoms, or think you might have come in contact with someone who has.
Stay home in quarantine for 14 days, if you’ve come in contact with someone who has the virus, as the government outlines. If you’re experiencing any flu-like symptoms, get tested. Make note of the first day you started experiencing symptoms, which will help determine when your quarantine could end. Not sure whether to get the test? Use the government’s self-assessment tool, or call 8-1-1.
The pandemic hasn’t stopped our social and judicial safety nets from supporting Quebec families. If you’re in need of family legal assistance, there are resources out there that can help you.
Mediation: The Quebec government offers access to up to five hours of mediation services paid for by the government. Mediation can be a good way to get through a separation, without the pain and expense of the courtroom. See Justice Quebec’s website for more info on their mediation program. Certified mediators Me Marie-Hélène Dubé and Me Leanne Greenberg are available to help you find positive, collaborative solutions that work best for your family.
Virtual Consultations: Because in-person services are only available for urgent situations at the moment, Goldwater, Dubé is offering video conferencing services during the pandemic. From one-on-one legal advice to preparing for a trial, online alternatives are here to help bridge the gap.
Virtual Hearings: The justice system is functioning as normal, with lower-priority hearings taking place via videoconference. Speak to your lawyer to see if this is an option to resolve your dispute.
Getting Out of the House!
All this staying at home can be tough on the mind. It’s important to get outside when you can. Parks, trails, and even cross-country skiing are great ways to get outside and elevate your heart rate.
Walking: Get into the habit of doing something as simple as taking a regular walk around the neighbourhood. Having a dog always helps, since it’s always more exciting to walk with a fur ball by your side! (Having a dog also allows Quebecers to walk outdoors within one kilometer of their homes past the 8pm curfew, in effect until Feb. 8, 2021.)
Workouts: If you’ve got an exercise bike collecting dust in the back of a closet, now might be a good time to take it out. If you don’t have room for equipment, there are all kinds of online resources to get you exercising with little more than a floor mat. Exercise helps maintain your mental and physical health.
Montreal’s Winter Activity Map: The City of Montreal has set up more than two dozen outdoor winter stations to relax while you’re outdoors in the city. Click here for a map of where they are located.
Downhill skiing: Ski resorts are open in the province, but in a restricted capacity. Don’t expect to get warm by the chalet fire while you’re there, as indoor spaces are closed, but a distanced day on the slopes could do your family good.
Cross-country skiing: Cross-country isn’t just for groomed trails. Look for areas in your nearby parks, or wintry walking paths with room to ski. Also a great way to get around on a snowy day! There are hundreds of kilometers of trails throughout Montreal!
Skating: Hanging out at your local rink is a classic Canadian pastime, especially for families. Don’t plan on playing any pick-up games since team sports are a COVID-19 transmission risk, but a nice socially-distant skate is still a great cardio workout.
Sledding: Depending on where you live, toboggan hills may be open. There may be a limit of how many people can sled at a time, so be ready to wait just a bit before you swoop down the slope.
The Quebec government offers a number of support services for people experiencing difficulties during the pandemic. Your family doctor is also a good resource who can refer you to specific services and health professionals if you require additional help.
Call 8-1-1 to speak with a health professional right away for advice and next steps.
Quebec’s main resource page for mental health supports.
Quebec’s digital self-management tool for mental health:Getting Better My Way
Various Resources: 2-1-1 Quebec offers a number of resource lines, from local borough contacts to crisis centres. You can find more information here.
If you have questions about your legal rights as it pertains to family law in Quebec, contact Goldwater, Dubé today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Zhao Chen // Unsplash