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“An uncomfortable smell”: Criticism of regulation in Montreal libraries

“An uncomfortable smell”: Criticism of regulation in Montreal libraries

The city of Montreal says it wants to amend a municipal bylaw, which has been adopted in four boroughs, allowing municipal libraries to block access to people whose “personal hygiene may disturb other users,” a measure that has particular consequences for people experiencing homelessness, according to organizations Different.

Fines ranging from $350 to $1,000 may be imposed on people who violate this regulation, effective January 1, 2024. These penalties can reach $3,000, plus a one-month ban in case of repetition.

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

It is the library network today, yesterday it was the metro network, which is our Montreal metro, which also adopts the winter suppression plan without any regard for the well-being and dignity of these people.“, explains the director RapsimAnnie Savage.

For RAPSIM, there are very few places left where people experiencing homelessness can stay warm in the winter. (archive photo)

Photo: Radio-Canada/Stu Mills

The city defends itself

The municipal administration took note of this outcry and announced that it wanted to amend the bylaws to reflect A Desire for inclusion.

Mayor Valerie Plante, whose district of Ville-Marie was one of those that adopted the regulation, indicated to Network X that the policy would be amended, specifying that Library staff face sensitive and complex situations, which require better supervision.

We will rework it to make sure it reflects the inclusion we want in our librariessaid Erika Alneus, the city of Montreal’s culture and heritage officer.

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Ms. Alnius also wanted to make clear that the regulation is not exclusively aimed at people experiencing homelessness, and that it is Applies to everyone.

With information from Marc Verrault

Reported by Jacob Côté