Citizens were requesting that we intervene with Arrondissement de Mercier – Hochelaga-Maisonneuve to close a Group Home located near their residence.

They argued that this Group Home did not hold the municipal permit required for this type of activities.

Our investigation showed that this Group Home, which could lodge up to 7 children, had been approved as an Intermediate Resource, by the Québec Government, at the request of Centre jeunesse de Montréal, in accordance with the Act respecting health services and social services.

The status of Intermediate Resource grants the person/organization, permission to offer a living environment adapted to the needs of children who are referred by a public establishment or by another support or assistance service.

In order to facilitate the establishment of such Intermediate Resources in residential areas, in spite of citizen’s foreseeable apprehensions, the Québec Government has provided, in section 308 of the above mentionned law, that:

308. A municipal permit or certificate shall not be refused and proceedings under a by-law shall not be instituted for the sole reason that a building or dwelling premises are to be occupied in whole or in part by an intermediate resource.

In light of this section, Arrondissement de Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve decided not to require that this organization obtains a formal occupation permit that it could not refuse anyway and, in these particular circumstances, we could not conclude that this decision was unreasonable, unfair or arbitrary.

The presence of a Group Home lodging up to 7 children may initially cause some worry in the neighborhood, but we are confident that, in time, citizens will recognize its utmost importance for the concerned children and will welcome them.

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