Preparations for after COVID-19 already underway in Quebec
Regis Labeaume repeats this at each press point: “We must think about the post-crisis”. In this regard, Quebec City is a leader with the preparation of a recovery plan towards a life … almost normal.
“Recovery is the poor relation of the different phases of a crisis.” Julie-Maude Normandin is a doctoral student in crisis management policy. She is also co-director of Cité-ID Livinglab in governance of urban resilience at the National School of Public Administration.
Following the major floods in the spring of 2017, it worked with the Association de la sécurité civile du Québec (ASCQ) to prepare a standard municipal recovery plan. What she calls an “all risk” plan. “The goal was to improve municipal practices for all crisis management. We have developed a global approach, ”she explains. This generic model was presented in February, just before the pandemic.
It turns out that the president of the ASCQ, Carolyne Larouche, is also, above all, director of the civil security office of Quebec City. It is easier to understand that the Labeaume administration wanted to quickly give itself the means to adapt the recovery plan to the COVID-19 scenario. “Quebec City is among the leaders in Quebec in the field because there are teams linked to recovery. She has a higher level of preparation, ”confirms the researcher.
But why care so much about recovery? “We often have the illusion that it will go without saying. It is without counting that the resources which managed the crisis are exhausted. It is a complex phase for a city which must restore its internal organization in addition to restoring services to the population. It is also much less “glamorous” than the crisis phase. After the crisis, we can manage it for a year and more, ”says Ms. Normandin, without wanting to give her assessment of the duration of the post-crisis management of COVID-19. As an example, she mentions that experts believe that certain aspects of the recovery phase have not yet been completed following the Lac-Mégantic rail accident that occurred on July 6, 2013. That says it all.
Ms. Normandin speaks of an integrative plan for all aspects of civil life such as urban security, socio-economic issues, the restoration of services, communications and human resources.
But beware, warns the expert, the pandemic has characteristics that other crises do not have. “The first is complexity in terms of temporality. The crises are usually more limited in time such as a flood or even the attack on the mosque in January 2017. The intervention phase is not so long and we are going into recovery.
“In this case, we don’t know when the crisis will end. We are going towards a half-hearted recovery. And it is very likely that there will be a second wave of contagion. We will have to follow the epidemiological data. ”
In addition to temporality, Ms. Normandin also aims as other characteristics the limitation of human resources and the capacity of organizations to understand how the world has changed.
No one escapes the crisis, even those who provide aid. “People are going to be under great stress. The risks of exhaustion are real. The idea is not to go back to what was before. We must adapt to the new parameters of life in society. There may be a loosening of the restrictions on social distancing, but it cannot be a return to normal, ”she concludes.