Since March, several stories of inspections have been denounced by restaurateurs. At a time when they must come to terms with new, stricter rules regarding hygiene and the closures of their dining rooms, here are scrupulous inspectors are not shy to impose fines! Meanwhile, the Association des restaurateurs du Québec believes that flexibility should be granted to them.
The ARQ even takes its idea further: the government should grant an unconditional discharge to entrepreneurs in this time of pandemic. The 247 fines issued by the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food since March are hurting entrepreneurs, who have to juggle with less cash but still high fixed costs.
These figures do not take into account other branches of government authorized to inspect and fine.
In addition, some examples of inspections made restaurant owners unhappy.
This is the case of a visit made by an inspector from the City of Montreal to the Park restaurant for a total of five hours. Asking employees questions every ten minutes, the inspector seemed to be looking for a problem, according to Chief Antonio Park. All to the detriment of customers who waited longer for their order due to the presence of the inspector.
Finally, no violation was noted following this visit.
Moreover, the inspectors of the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) are busy with the times. More relentlessness, some would say. And in the midst of a pandemic, the others will add.
Tensions quickly mounted between an OQLF inspector and the owner of a Montreal restaurant last month, the latter finding the visit very inappropriate due to the current context and the already extensive file between his business and the Office.
A group of independent owners in Montreal has also posted a petition calling for the outright abolition of the OQLF. These entrepreneurs believe everyone should focus on building capacity in hospitals instead of blaming and discouraging business owners.
In September, however, the Quebec government announced an addition of $ 5 million to the coffers of the Office to ensure that businesses comply with the Charter of the French language.
Most restaurateurs agree with the application of Bill 101 and the French fact in Quebec, as well as the importance of keeping a kitchen clean and according to MAPAQ standards.
But you don't need to be fined these days.