COVID-19: Building owners and administrators must implement these

The City of Côte Saint-Luc has received numerous complaints by residents in buildings across the city of (1) visitors being allowed into buildings, and (2) people who should be in isolation walking freely in common areas, such as lobbies and mail rooms.

We are strongly requesting that buildings immediately implement control measures to limit access with a doorman, security, or concierge. We also strongly request that posters be put up around your building, such as the ones included in this message below. When  these two measures have been adopted, we are asking people to e-mail us back with confirmation as we are tracking this information and will share it with the public health authority. Everyone's cooperation is required for the safety and security of the residents living in each building and for the community at large. 


Mesures visant à réduire la propagation de la maladie à coronavirus (COVID-19) 

La ville de Côte Saint-Luc a reçu de nombreuses plaintes de résidants d'immeubles à travers la ville concernant (1) les visiteurs autorisés à entrer dans les immeubles et (2) les personnes qui devraient être isolées mais qui se promènent librement dans les aires communes, telles que les halls d'entrée et les salles du courrier.

Nous nous recommandons fortement que votre immeuble mette en place immédiatement des mesures de contrôle pour limiter l'accès à votre immeuble avec un portier, un agent de sécurité ou un concierge. Nous vous demandons aussi vivement d'afficher des affiches autour de votre bâtiment, comme celle incluse dans ce courriel.

Lorsque vous aurez appliqué ces deux mesures, veuillez nous envoyer un courriel de confirmation car faisons le suivi de ces informations et les partagerons avec la direction de la santé publique.

Votre coopération est requise pour la sécurité des résidants de votre immeuble et de la communauté en général. 

Please keep on the links below.

Download Coronavirus-Factsheet-SELF-ISOLATION-QUARANTINE


Download For the sick person under self-isolation

Download Pour la personne malade en isolement à la maison




The police will act for those who do not follow the law on COVID-19

The subject of self-isolation keeps coming up in Côte Saint-Luc. Sadly we have become the focal point of COVID-19 cases in the province, primarily because too many people did not respect the calls from the government for social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and not self-isolating when coming into contact with someone who was diagnosed or  when they returned from Florida. If people want to know why our IGA at Quartier Cavendish and Caldwell Provisions have closed their doors to clients and will only do delivery for now, this is why.

A punishing blog targeting the Jewish community is going viral on the internet. The author is identified as a Philip Berlach.

Once again today I got a flurry of calls from people, mostly in high rises, hysterical that too many people are not following the law. When I took a walk on Parkhaven a woman flagged me down to complain that her neighbours were having different visitors every night.. We heard from an elderly couple in a rental who are petrified by their neighbours who are a large family, also with endless traffic in the unit. The building is not properly staffed and she is frightened.=


I hope everyone wakes up for the police are prepared to take action. If someone with a known case of COVID-19 is roaming around, then call 911. The same goes for a massive gathering, You can call Police Station 9 directly at 514-280-2222. Police will respond to every call.   This is serious. They must halt any potential super spreader.

Police cars are patrolling the area. Ditto for our Public Security.

Our Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather shared with us today that public health rules related to those who have been outside the country for the last 14 days have  They were revised over the weekend by public health authorities. “Those who are in self-isolation, meaning you travelled outside the country over the last 14 days or were in close contact with someone who tested positive are now not allowed to go for walks or bike rides and must get fresh air only on their own balcony or lawn, if they have one,” he says.

So please, carefully go throw out your trash. But do not use the elevator or go to the mailroom.

 Federation CJA unveiled some excellent guidelines for the Jewish community today. I implore everyone to follow them. See below.

On multiple occasions, we have urged strict and complete adherence to guidelines issued by the Quebec government and health authorities to stem the spread of COVID-19.
















Anyone who sees someone violating these restrictions should politely remind the offender/s that they are in violation of the law. If the warning is disregarded, then the appropriate authorities should be notified.

We close with wishes for a Happy Passover and with a fervent prayer, may it be the will of Our Father in Heaven to have mercy on us and to protect and prevent the pandemic from all of us, from our city and the whole world. May he send a speedy recovery to all those who are sick, wherever they may be, and may we merit in the month of Nisan to be redeemed, speedily in our days.

If you or anyone you know needs assistance please call their Help Line at 514-734-1411.

CIUSSS West-Central Montreal opens a drive-thru screening clinic for COVID-19 in CSL

The new COVID-19 screening clinic is located in the parking lot of the Quartier Cavendish at 5800 Cavendish Boulevard. The clinic will be open every day from 8:00 a.m. to
8:00 p.m. A person must have an appointment before arriving at the test centre.

"By opening the Cavendish screening clinic, we are respecting our engagement to act quickly and decisively so we can respond to the rapid evolution of the situation by providing essential services the public needs", declared Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, President and CEO of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal and a CSL resident.

To be eligible for testing, a person must have travelled during the last 14 days, come into contact with a person who travelled during the last 14 days, and who is sick or has symptoms such as fever, cough, or a sore throat. (The criteria is subject to change) If you respond to one of these criteria, call 1-877-644-4545 (as of Sunday at 9:00 a.m.). You must complete an online questionnaire that will determine if you need to be tested or not. Once on site, the test will be carried out in the car. No one is allowed to exit their vehicle. For now, the new centre can carry out up to 400 tests per day.

"Credible COVID-19 information is crucial. This is what we are providing by increasing the possibility of being tested, and by determining the people for whom a positive result will make their self-isolation mandatory," added Dr. Rosenberg.

Bravo to Dr. Rosenberg and his team and the Quebec government  for making this happen. I know our mayor, Mitchell Brownstein and D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum were among those who had been asking for this occur. I spoke to  CIUSSS West Central Montreal Chairman Alan Maislin and I must say when the call ended I felt more confident than ever that we will get through this ordeal. Alan always knows the right things to say.

Test centre
The Drive-Thru Test Centre at Quartier Cavendish

 Le nouveau centre de dépistage de la COVID-19 se trouve dans le stationnement du Quartier Cavendish au 5800, boulevard Cavendish. Le centre sera ouvert tous les jours de 8 h à 20 h. Il est obligatoire d’avoir un rendez-vous avant d’arriver sur place.

« En ouvrant le Centre de dépistage Cavendish, nous respectons notre engagement d’agir rapidement et de manière décisive pour répondre à l’évolution rapide de la situation en fournissant les services essentiels dont le public a besoin », a déclaré le Dr Lawrence Rosenberg, président-directeur général du CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.

Pour être admissible à un dépistage, une personne doit avoir voyagé au cours des 14 derniers jours, doit avoir été en contact avec une personne qui a voyagé au cours des 14 derniers jours et qui est malade ou qui ressent des symptômes comme la fièvre, la toux ou un mal de gorge. (Ces critères sont sujets à changement.) Si vous répondez à un de ces critères, appeler le 1-877-644-4545 (à partir de 9 h 00 dimanche). Vous devrez compléter un questionnaire en ligne qui déterminera si vous avez besoin ou non d’un test de dépistage. Une fois sur place, le test de dépistage se fera dans la voiture. Il ne sera pas permis de sortir de son véhicule. Le nouveau centre pourra réaliser jusqu’à 400 tests par jour.

« L’information fiable au sujet de la COVID-19 est d’une importance cruciale. Et, c’est ce que nous fournissons en augmentant les possibilités de dépistage, et en déterminant quelles sont les personnes dont le résultat positif rend leur isolement absolument obligatoire. », a ajouté le Dr Rosenberg.


Self-isolation for snowbirds means stay in your home or apartment for 14 days

As the COVID-19 pandemic  crisis intensifies, especially in Côte Saint-Luc, I am receiving more  and more phone calls and emails from constituents who are justifiably frightened.

Probably as early as this Sunday, a test center will open near the entrance of the CLSC Réne-Cassin at Quartier Cavendish. It will be by appointment only and for people in vehicles. Nobody will need to step inside. For those who do not have cars, we understand that a taxi service might be available.  There is more information to come. Bravo to our Liberal MNA David Birnbaum, Mayor Brownstein and the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal for making this happen, Today Quebec Public Health Director Horacio Arruda warned people who do not live in Côte Saint-Luc not to come here. The disease is spreading here and hopefully the Test Center will ensure more people are diagnosed and treated.


There are many Côte Saint-Luc snowbirds who returned from Florida as of March 26. Yesterday the federal government invoked the Quarantine Act. The number of cases of COVID-19 is increasing daily – both at home and globally,” explains Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather. “Earlier this month, we asked travellers entering Canada to self-isolate for 14 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. Effective immediately, we are strengthening our measures at the border.”

Travellers returning to Canada will be subject to a mandatory 14-day self-isolation under the Quarantine Act.Failure to comply with this order can result in fines of up to $750,000 and/or six months in prison . “All individuals, with the exception of essential workers, are subject to these measures, regardless of whether you display symptoms,” Housefather says.


Your city council is meeting daily via video conference. Our mayor, city manager and head of public safety are in touch with the commander of Police Station 9 regularly and they are prepared to act on this law and arrest someone if necessary. Is that the example we need to see before people really get how serious this is?

I already received some calls today about snowbirds spotted in their lobbies. Someone from a building not in my district indicated that their doorman told them it was okay to come down to get their mail. These actions contravene the Quarantine Act. Folks, we do not want this to get ugly, but I am hearing from more people who say they have taken to shaming their neighbours who do this. Others say they will not hesitate to call the police. All snowbirds must remain in their home or unit for 14 days.

Then there is the category of others who must go into a 14 day self isolation because  they may have come into contact with someone infected with the disease. Can they go for groceries? “

"No, you cannot,” Housefather emphasized.  “You cannot go to stores, you cannot go visit people and other people cannot come visit you. “

If you have no symptoms you can still go outside for fresh air, a run, a bike ride or to walk the dog. But please  stay six feet away from anyone else.

One constituent reached me today to say he has already seen people breaking the rules. “Please advise the community at large to say something to the authorities when this occurs,” he advised.

Another constituent said:  “I have a neighbour two doors down from me who  is supposed to be self-isolating.  I see him go to his car every day and he runs the engine on  I am trying not to be a ‘rat,’ but he never goes by the rules for anything and in this case even more so. Anyway someone can speak to him and his wife? They have three kids who are also playing outside now - they leave their toys around, which I will not touch, but it is crazy that they are not following the rules.”

The number for the police is 514-280-0109. Please do not abuse this.

Local food and pharmacy services remain open, but be respectful of others

Rumours that Caldwell Provisions is closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic are not correct. I spoke to owner George Sparagis  today and he said that a new protocol will be put into place immediately, with fewer people allowed inside at a time. People can drop off or phone in their regular Passover orders. Curbside pickup will be available and the normal delivery service still remains in place. Give your credit card over the phone (514-481-0365)  and your order will be left at the front door. They will be closed this Sunday to give the staff a well-deserved break.

George Sparagis

 Qualitifruits and Norsherz on Westminster Avenue will also remain open, again limiting the number of people inside.

“We are allowing two customers at a time in the store and they have to use the sanitizer at the door,” says Emma Salvati of Qualifruits. “For those people who just returned from Florida, we ask that they not come in. We will deliver. Customers need to be patient.”

Robert J. Vineberg of Nosherz says he is adopting a similar policy. He will also offer delivery for a nominal  charge.  He also wished to tell me that his puzzle store in LaSalle. Jigsaw Jungle,   remains open and they ship daily right to your front door." Puzzles are a great way to pass time and keep the mind sharp," he said. "We boast one of the largest selections  in the world." You can call Nosherz at 514-484-0445 or email

J &R Kosher Meats at Quartier Cavendish are offering curbside pickups from their back door. You can get the order form on their website and e-mail in your request. "Specify on your order whether it’s a back door pick up or delivery," explains Susie Nemes. "List exactly the items you want,  whether they are raw or cooked. Please include your credit card information, including the security code. We will try our best to complete your order for the date that you ask."

What concerns me are the people who are not self-isolating for 14 days,   be it those who have come back from Florida or been in the company of someone who was diagnosed positive for COVID-19 and sadly we know that those numbers are rising here. Today we learned that someone who did their prayers at Beth Zion on  Hudson Avenue was diagnosed. An elderly resident of the King David Seniors Residence did too after she attended a family wedding, opening the floodgates for others to become infected.  Some who went to Beth Chabad CSL were diagnosed and we  are now asking anyone who was there self-isolate.

So please, if you fall into any of these categories please please please do not go out to shop for groceries or the pharmacy! Mayor Mitchell Brownstein will be issuing another robocall to all homes and running an advertisement on CJAD to again highlight these points.

The Quartier Cavendish has basically shut down its entire operation, save for the staples.

Danish supermarkets.
This is how social distancing is being handled at stores in Denmark

Pharmaprix  at Quartier Cavendish now has tight controls. IGA at that venue and the CSL Shopping Centre has shortened its hours. If it looks crowded either do not go inside or maintain the proper space apart. Passover shopping will be lighter for residents this year. Our state of emergency prohibits gatherings of 10 or more.   Passover seders should only be held with people who live under the same roof as you. At this moment we are all taking risks every time  we leave our homes.

Solly the Caterer prepares food for restaurants and bakeries all over the island of Montreal. They also   make over 1,100 meals daily for daycares and supply meals to veterans and seniors. During this crisis owner Mitchell Kadanoff and his team are delivering fresh meals  to your door, individually packaged or in bulk. It will be made in a safe and sanitized kitchen. “Our prices will remain the same,” says Mitch. “ We will waive all delivery fees and credit card charges. We want the community to know that Solly’s will make sure no one goes hungry at this time. It is best to email them 24 hours in advance to as the phone lines are pretty busy (514-485-8818).

Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather states: "Everyone must respect federal, provincial and municipal rules. Everyone who has returned to Canada must self quarantine for 14 days. This is not optional. They cannot do anything other than what is permitted by public health. Those over 70 should stay home,  except for emergencies or walking alone or with someone who lives with them. No churches or synagogues or any other religious institution should be operating no matter where they are located. People should pray at home. Nobody should be visiting other people’s homes."

I will continue to update this article with other food news people provide me with.

News of South Florida rabbi with COVID-19 should set off alarm bells for Snowbirds

Important Update: It appears that another Bal Harbour rabbi has tested  presumptive positive: Rabbi Moshe Gruenstein from The  Young Israel Congregation  Further to this, I am told that here too many of our residents are members. See this Miami Herald story.


As hundreds of snowbirds return home to Côte Saint-Luc and Hampstead, extremely alarming news comes our way that the rabbi of one of the largest Orthodox synagogues in Miami-Dade County, Shul of Bal Harbour, has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.

Reports say that Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar, the founder and spiritual leader of the synagogue on Collins Ave. in Surfside,  was “exhibiting mild symptoms and was self-isolating.”

The town's mayor said Lipskar “is not only the rabbi of our synagogue, but he is a Bal Harbour resident, a pillar of our community, a spiritual leader to many, the chaplain of our police department, a neighbor and a close friend.”

The shul has about 700 family memberships, representing about 3,000 people, and many are Côte Saint-Luc and Hampstead snowbirds. I have already fielded many worrisome calls from members of local synagogues.

Rabbi Lipskar

“If you have been in ‘close contact’ with Rabbi Lipskar in the past 14 days, please self-isolate in your homes with your nuclear family only, for a period of 14 days,”  Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman said. He added that Bal Harbour residents might soon be contacted by state and federal health officials “to direct those who may have been in close contact with the Rabbi to seek medical attention and testing.”

This is another example of why ALL of our snowbirds must self-isolate the moment they return. Do not go to the grocery store or a common laundry room. Have family or friends bring you groceries. Any one of you can become a super spreader.  Said one synagogue congregant: "I  know a snowbird who came back and agreed to self-isolate and then someone saw him at the grocery  store," he told me. "He was asked why he did not stay at home. The man responded that he only wanted to pick up one item and he did not see the harm. Some people just do not get this!"

Rabbi Lipskar, who is in his 70s, said he was diagnosed at the University of Miami and that his only symptom was fever. After the 14 day period he may be cleared.

If you know any returning snowbird who may have set foot in that shul before returning home, please warn them and others!

Beth Chabad Concerns

Meanwhile, we have been informed that someone who has frequented Beth Chabad on Kildare is suspected of having COVID-19. He was tested yesterday and the shul is now closed. Services are taking place outdoors. As a result of our declaration of a state of emergency, gatherings of more than 10 people in our community are now prohibited. Everyone needs to rethink how their Passover seders will take place.


Your city is showing leadership during this COVID-19 crisis

I was not a member of city council when Quebec experienced the 1998 Ice Storm. But I vividly remember our mayor, councillors and front line staff stepping up as leaders.

As the COVID-19 pandemic hits us all very hard, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, our council and our senior management team have stepped up. We have a high proportion of seniors in our community and two large healthcare institutions – Maimonides and Mount Sinai – which are of great concern. There is also the CLSC René Cassin, which sees patients and of course has a blood test center.


Hundreds of snowbirds will be coming home by car (passing by and stopping at some American towns where the disease can be active) and air. Social distancing on a plane or in line at the airport is simply not possible.  These individuals must follow the protocol set forth by Premier  François Legault and self-isolate for 14 days immediately upon their return. Any one of them can be a super spreader.  We also need to encourage individuals aged 70 or over to stay home, as stated by the Premier.

Gradually our religious institutions are cancelling any large gatherings. This is essential. Sadly celebrations must be included in this category – weddings, bar mitzvahs and upcoming Passover seders. We are all congregating at grocery stores and pharmacies out of necessity. Try and limit these visits and practice social distancing. Make sure to have a hand sanitizer with you at all times and a container of wipes. Consider frequenting some of our smaller-sized merchants such as Qualitifruits on Westminster, Nosherz next door, Caldwell Provisions, Pharmaprix Caldwell, Maxis Bakery at Quartier Cavendish.

We have closed all of our main municipal buildings.  City Hall is closed to the public, but our staff continue to run the city. Our city council wants to lead by example. We have therefore moved to online meetings via video to avoid all being in the same room. The provincial government has given municipalities powers to proceed with meetings and consultations via technology. I want to take my hat off to Darryl Levine, our invaluable public affairs and communications chief. In short order he set up a system whereby the mayor, council and senior staff met from 5:45 pm to 11:30 pm on Monday entirely via video. The monthly “public” council meeting was streamed live on YouTube. We took questions that were submitted earlier in the day and the mayor responded to questions posted on YouTube in real time. Nearly 40 people watched it live and it is now available here for everyone to see.

This format was a huge success. We will continue to meet this way until further notice. The mayor and council are in regular communication daily. We are all practicing social distancing. On Monday I was appointed Deputy Mayor for the next three months. This means that if for whatever reason the mayor cannot fulfill his duties, I will assume those responsibilities.

State of Emergency Declared in CSL

We held a special meeting at 3:30 pm on Tuesday, March 17 when the Mayor declared a state of emergency in our city. The focus was to limit gatherings now to no more than 10 people. Included as well was a message to Snowbirds and other travellers arriving from abroad.

Here  is the complete text:

WHEREAS the World Health Organization declared a pandemic related to COVID-19 on March 11, 2020;

WHEREAS several measures have been taken by the City of Côte Saint-Luc in order to prevent and slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus as per the directives provided by the appropriate health authorities;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc has a high concentration of seniors, representing over 30% of its population, including many snow-birds living in apartment and condo buildings who have been or will be returning home after extended travel;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc also has one of the highest population density per square kilometer in Québec;

WHEREAS senior citizens are most susceptible to be affected by the COVID-19 virus;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc is home to eight (8) large religious institutions and many smaller ones, most of which continue to maintain services and hold celebrations;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc has seven (7) senior residences and, two (2) hospitals and one (1) CLSC on its territory;

WHEREAS this pandemic constitutes an actual and imminent major disaster situation and immediate action is required to protect human life, the health and physical integrity of the population of the City of Côte Saint-Luc given its particular demographic and population density;

WHEREAS by virtue of sections 42, 43, 44, 45 and 47 of the Civil Protection Act (C.Q.L.R., chapter S-2.3) (“Act”) a local municipality may declare a state of emergency in all or part of its territory where, in an actual or imminent major disaster situation, immediate action is required to protect human life, health or physical integrity, and specify the nature of the disaster, the territory concerned, its effective period and the measures to be taken without delay and without formality;

WHEREAS by virtue of the Act, a state of emergency is effective as soon as it is declared or renewed; It was



“THAT in conformity with section 42 of the Act, a state of emergency be declared in all of the City of Côte Saint-Luc’s territory due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic;

THAT in conformity with section 44 of the Act, the Mayor of Côte Saint-Luc be authorized to exercise the powers provided by section 47 of the Act;

THAT the state of emergency be declared for a period of five (5) days from the adoption of the present resolution;

THAT during the state of emergency and in conformity with section 47 of the Act, the Côte Saint-Luc City Council prohibits any indoor social and-or religious gatherings exceeding 10 individuals on its territory and calls upon the Direction de santé publique to use their powers of enforcement to shut down any of these said gatherings with the Collaboration of the SPVM;

THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council further beseeches upon its residents and strongly implores them to:

- Undertake mandatory isolation for a period of fourteen (14) days for all those who return from abroad on or after March 12, 2020; and

THAT in conformity with section 45 of the Act, the present resolution be sent immediately to the Minister of Public Security and the appropriate civil protection authorities in the territory of Côte Saint-Luc.”


Resolution on COVID-19

We began our  March 16 meeting by adopting the following resolution:

WHEREAS several measures have been taken by the City of Côte Saint-Luc in order to prevent and slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc recognizes and appreciates the proactive measures taken by some organizations on its territory to prevent and slow down the virus;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc has a high concentration of seniors,  representing over 30 % of its population of 34000, including many snow-birds living in apartment and condo buildings who have been or will be returning home after extended travel;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc is home to seven large religious institutions and many smaller ones, three large shopping centres, several strip malls, and some office buildings;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc would like to do everything in its power to contain and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus;

WHEREAS community organizations and individuals can play a significant role in helping to prevent the spread of the virus;

WHEREAS a community’s resilience is only as strong as its weakest links;

Be it Resolved That

The City of Côte Saint Luc hereby asks the organizations and community groups on its territory to cease all of their activities that gather people physically together, and calls upon its residents to follow all provincial recommendations to help prevent the spread the COVID-19 virus.

Relatives and Caregivers

We have heard from many distraught relatives of patients at Maimonides and Mount Sinai. They and the hired caregivers are no longer allowed inside, according to government directives to limit transmission. Our mayor is in regular touch with our Members of the National Assembly and healthcare officials to see what kind of compromise can be made. Surely there can be a screening process created.  The existing staff cannot possibly handle such a caseload. One of the residents at Maimonides is Cecile Klein. She is 112 years old, the oldest living person in Canada. Feeder

Côte Saint-Luc has the largest proportion of seniors in the province per capita. They are the most vulnerable to contract COVID-19. We must all do everything in our power to keep them safe.  And they must do their part as well – Snowbirds in particular! 

Please stay tuned to the city’s special COVID-19 website. Our EMO (Emergency Measures Organization) consists of Mayor Brownstein, Councillor Oren Sebag (public safety portfolio and a registered nurse by profession), City Manager Tanya Abramovitch, Associate City Manager Nadia Di Furia,  Public Safety Director Philip Chateauvert, Parks and Recreation Director Cornelia Ziga and Darryl Levine. They are convening multiple times daily.

Look for our advertisement in The Suburban on Wednesday, Letters will be sent to each home and we will make sure to address our concerns of those people who must self-isolate. The orientation of Côte Saint-Luc is that we want to be a leader and prevent the virus from spreading as much as possible, acting with an abundance of caution.


I am proud of our amended smoking bylaw which now prohibits cannabis in public areas

Smoking is an addiction and for all of my life I could never figure out why anyone liked puffing away at cigarettes or anything else of that nature.

Many years ago, when I was a cub reporter for The Suburban,  I covered the adoption of a then groundbreaking non-smoking bylaw in Côte Saint-Luc. The  late Councillor Eric Helfield championed this legislation and it spread to other municipalities.

A few weeks ago some constituents contacted me to advise that there were people smoking cannabis at Rembrandt Park. They wanted to know what we could do about it. Well at that time the  Liberal government's legalization of cannabis held the upper hand.  I told them to be patient and that our council would be strengthening our own smoking bylaw to cover this. At our most recent monthly meeting we did just that!

Pursuant to the adoptions of the Cannabis Act (federal) and the Act to constitute the Sociéte québécoise du cannabis, to enact the Cannabis Regulation Act and to amend various highway safety-related provisions, our council decided to amend our smoking by-law to incorporate provisions for the consumption of cannabis.



Council has decided that the same provisions for smoking tobacco will apply to consuming cannabis.  A similar amendment was made to by-law 2374 for electronic cigarettes. Smoking (cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and cannabis) will be prohibited in the following place as per the new by-law:

Any place as indicated within the Provincial Tobacco Act and any of its amendments (all of which apply on the entire territory of Côte Saint-Luc); All Laundry Rooms of Apartment Buildings; All elevators, escalators, or stairways in any Building or part thereof; All Lobbies, Reception areas, halls hallways, or stairwells in any Building or office or part thereof; Lunch Counters; Food Courts; Transit shelters; Any playground, splash pool or sports activity; In all municipal parks, during, a special event, green spaces, municipal dog runs, community Gardens; and All municipal outdoor pools.

The appropriate prohibition signs will also be updated to reflect these changes.

I am proud of our council for taking this position. And by the way,  none of our nine members smoke!

Here is a link to the new bylaw.


Top CIUSS official responds to CSLC René Cassin Test Center concerns and provides hope for improvements

A senior official from the CIUSSS Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal  was kind enough to respond to my recent blog regarding the closure of the CLSC René-Cassin Blood Test Center over the Christmas holidays, long lineups upon the return of operations and misinformation emanating from the answering service.

Francine Dupuis

Deputy Director General Francine Dupuis  was personally responsible for the opening of this service a few years ago when she served as  Director General of the CSSS Cavendish. "I felt sorry for the elderly who had to wait so long at the hospital for tests that could be taken care of by their CLSC," she noted. "The ministry never funded this activity and we had to squeeze money from other programs to open the Test Center, which tells you how much of a priority it was."

Mr. Dupuis said that when she read about my unpleasant experience, it saddened her. However, at the same time, it   allowed her to look into what was done and how the service can be improved.

I had raised the fact that the  notice on the window stated that the Test Center was closed from December 24 to January 2 inclusively. It was unclear for many if that meant it would reopen January 3.  "The word 'inclusively'  means that this day is included. The confusion rose from the fact that the other CLSC services were offered,  but the posting did not make the difference, hence the confusion. It could have read:  'This is a reminder that the CLSC will be open at 8:00 on Wednesday January 3  for general services, but not the Test Center. The Test Center will resume its activities on Thursday January 4 at the usual time, 7:30.' On the telephone, the person who answered should have made the difference very clearly. I am looking into this, so that our messages leave no place to confusion next year, both verbally and in writing."

Hours could change next Christmas.

Ms. Dupuis also shared some promising news. The CIUSSS plans to open more days next year. "As you pointed out, the Jewish General Hospital is not the best place to have your blood tests done," she said. "We have started with more limited days because the attendance was much less important in the first few years and also because we were not budgeted for the staff. Seeing that it is getting more popular, which is good news, we want to increase the staff and the hours of services. Moreover, we will try to offer the service every day,  but on December 24 and 25 and January 1 and 2. This is not an official promise,  but I am trying to see how we could budget it, knowing that it is of increasing importance for the population we serve. The new  GMFs  - family medicine groups - will also offer the service, which will give more than one option in the community."

Regarding my suggestion that benches be installed for those waiting to get into the Test  Center, Ms. Dupuis said those requests should be addressed to the management of the Quartier Cavendish since the Ministry of Health’s lease does not include space outside the clinic on that floor.

I want to thank Ms. Dupuis for taking the time to send me such a detailed response.



Blood boils over as CLSC René Cassin Test Centre finally reopens

It was Groundhog Day for me and many others today at the CLSC René Cassin Test Centre.


The noticeFor the third day in a row I showed up at the Quartier Cavendish location for a blood test that required a 12 hour fast. On Tuesday, I read the sign in the window which said that the Test Centre would be closed from December 24 to January 2 inclusive. I called the CLSC hotline. Someone from the service responded and assured me it would be open on Wednesday. From the way the notice was written, it was difficult to tell. So again I woke up at 6:15 am while on holiday from work and headed over there. I was not the only one. At least 15 people joined me. Several us called the CLSC hotline. We were all told the same thing. It would open at 8 am. Test Centre hours are 7:30 am to 9:30 am weekdays so I found that odd. We all waited and at 7:50 am the lights went on.  There was hope until 10 minutes later a young lady opened the door and said blood tests would only resume Thursday.

The line started early. Please install a bench here.

The CLSC René Cassin is a more attractive option for early morning blood tests than going to the madhouse at the Jewish General Hospital at that time. But it is hardly the novelty it used to be. I was there at 6:50 am. At this time there were six people ahead of me, mostly elderly. Fifteen minutes in one man, a constituent, could stand no longer and took a seat on the floor. By 7:25 am the lineup snaked up the hallway like a rock concert. We all shared the same comments. Why did the Test Centre have to be closed for such a long period of time? "Do they think just because it is the Christmas holidays we can all skip mandatory blood tests?" one lady asked.

Old friend Harvey Hershenkopf,a Registered Nurse by profession and all-round great guy, was the volunteer

Harvey Hershenkopf has the magic touch with frustrated clients.

on duty making sure people got the numbers. All of us were so happy to sit down.

A memo to the CLSC or the Quartier Cavendish administration --could you not install some benches  or chairs in the outdoor waiting area where that nice big paid advertisement for Air Transat hangs on the wall? And here is a tip for some business people out there. The Idolem Hot Yoga studio next to the CLSC closed recently. A coffee shop open from 6:30 am in that spot would have made a bundle this morning for those not fasting or folks like me who had to walk  all the way to Maxies or Cafe de L'Avenue for a muffin or something similar after the test.

I did not count but there had to be at least 100 people in the waiting room, many standing. There were two people behind the counter processing the requisitions and two technicians drawing the blood.

With Gaetan Barrette no longer in office destroying our health system, perhaps the new CAQ government will give agencies like our own CIUSSS West-Central Montreal the budgets necessary to expand the hours  of these test centres and ideally have some afternoon hours.

Standing room only.

I was taken by 8 am and out soon after. The technician had already heard complaints from people who had lined up the day before. She asked me what they should do next year. "For starters," I said, "have your answering service properly briefed. Secondly, clearly spell out the date you reopen on the notice."

Why did I write this story? I was recognized as a city councillor pretty quickly  and as the crowd grew a de facto Town Hall meeting evolved. I tried  to read my newspaper and explain to everyone that the CLSC was not under the umbrella or the city, nor was the management of the Mall. I did finally make a promise to share their concerns in writing.

The staff were wonderful and kudos to Harvey for keeping the clientele in check.

Groundhog Day at the CLSC is finally over for me.