COVID-19: Better to keep SQDC branches open, says union

The Legault government is right: keeping SQDC branches open is preferable, even during the coronavirus pandemic, the main union believes.
In an interview with The Canadian Press on Wednesday, the Quebec director of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Marc Ranger, considered it preferable to maintain the activities of branches of the Société québécoise du cannabis, for reasons of public health and safety.

“If the SQDC branches were closed, thousands of customers who currently go to the branches, rather than order online, would risk turning to the street” to obtain cannabis, he argues.

This would cause problems of physical proximity between people, problems of exchange of cash, packaging not necessarily safe and frequentation of networks not always recommendable, argues Mr. Ranger.

He recalls that when the SQDC was created, it was granted “a social mission”, an educational mission aimed at promoting healthy consumption, in addition to extracting a lucrative sales sector for organized crime. In particular, it must monitor the age of consumers.

“To close them would be to multiply the risks in the context of a pandemic,” argues the union leader.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), affiliated with the FTQ, is however advocating that protective measures be adopted to protect these workers from the Société québécoise du cannabis.

“If the SQDC branches were closed, thousands of customers who currently go to the branches, rather than ordering online, would risk turning to the street” to obtain cannabis ”
– Quebec Director of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Marc Ranger

Moreover, Plexiglas panels must soon be installed to protect employees, as is the case in supermarkets.

CUPE represents two-thirds of union members at the Société québécoise du cannabis. He also represents 900 warehouse workers at the Société des alcools, who also transport people.

CUPE thus adopts a completely different position from that of the SAQ Store and Office Employees Union, attached to the CSN. In recent days, he had been arguing for the closure of branches of the SAQ and the SQDC.

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