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Quebec lifts curfew for the homeless

Last Updated Jan 27, 2021 at 10:03 am EST

MONTREAL (CityNews) – A superior court has ruled that Quebec’s homeless must be exempt from the province-wide 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.

A judge ruled Tuesday that the restrictions were endangering homeless people’s health and safety and that the impact of the measure on the homeless population was “discriminatory and disproportionate.”

The province sought the change after the death of Raphael Andre, an Innu man found dead in a public Porta Potty over a week ago steps away from a closed Montreal shelter during curfew hours.

WATCH: Outrage after homeless man’s death during Quebec curfew

The change comes as a huge relief to many, especially after the Legault government refused to allow any exemptions for those living in the streets, citing concerns others may pretend to be homeless to take advantage of the exception.

“I don’t know who [will] pretend they are homeless. It’s not fun, it’s not a game, and it’s absurd,” explained John Tessier, Interventions Coordinator at Open Door Shelter.

Judge Chantal Masse said the curfew can’t apply to those who don’t have a residence. The city’s homeless advocates say even though more beds have been added across the city and the open door shelter reopened 24/7, it’s still not enough, and more needs to be done to protect the vulnerable.

“Unfortunately because we only have 25 spaces. We still have to, unfortunately, turn people away,” explained Tessier.

Montreal’s Mayor Valerie Plante, urged Premier Francois Legault to exempt the homeless reacted to the ruling Tuesday night, tweeting, “This decision will make life easier for people experiencing homelessness and for those working in the field who support them.”