Montreal's Phonopolis Is Still Being Fined Thousands of Dollars by the Province of Quebec

Despite the devastating effects of COVID-19, the record store was served notice of fines "close to $3,000" on its first day of reopening
Montreal's Phonopolis Is Still Being Fined Thousands of Dollars by the Province of Quebec
Late last year, multiple record stores in Montreal's Mile End neighbourhood were fined thousands of dollars by the province of Quebec over their weekend opening hours. While the city indicated earlier this year that changes were coming, it appears things haven't changed all that much as one store stares down another hefty sum.

Today, Montreal's Phonopolis shared on Instagram that it was served notice of fines in "amounts close to $3,000" after opening its store yesterday (August 27) for the first time in five months following COVID-19-related closures.

Store staff wrote, "During these times, customers and other people in the community have asked what the latest developments were concerning the massive and anachronistic fines we — and other small shops in the mile-end — received in the past year."

In late 2019, Phonopolis and fellow record stores SonoramaLa Rama and Death of Vinyl were fined for breaking a provincial law that states businesses can remain open as early 8 a.m. to as late as 9 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. It also notes mandatory days off for statutory holidays, including New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Canada Day and more.

As Phonopolis explained, "Realistically, we assumed that due to the severe recession and increasing small business closure caused by COVID, these fines would be put on hold, or dismissed entirely, for the sake of maintaining a degree of functionality and security in a time where most of us are trying to maintain while still being able to pay for essentials."

As the store then revealed, "this was an incorrect assumption." Phonopolis's post features a snap of a document "confirming the province's intent to prosecute us for amounts close to $3,000."

"'Draconian' would be the word that best describes the current approach of the Legault government and its Ministries toward the situation," the store continued. "There's a rich irony that all of this stems from the Ministry of Economy and 'Innovation.' The repeated message we have received from the CAQ is that penalty should occur before dialogue."

Phonopolis staff added that "Despite trying to open a line of communication with Pierre Fitzgibbon or anyone in the CAQ regarding an independent record store's role in the health of a community's social fabric, our appeals have remain unanswered.

"Some have suggested that we start a fundraiser for all the shops affected by this but, for Phonopolis, we believe there are many other causes happening in Quebec that should take financial precedent. We also believe that paying these fines would be set a dangerous precedent moving forward."

You can see the store's post in full down below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Yesterday, after 5 months of staying closed as a public space and taking on massive debt from trying to keep our customers and staff as safe as possible during COVID 19 - we cautiously reopened our doors. During these times, customers and other people in the community have asked what the latest developments were concerning the massive and anachronistic fines we - and other small shops in the mile-end - received in the past year. If you are only reading about this for the first time, we urge you to do a websearch of 'record store fines montreal' for a recap. Realistically, we assumed that due to the severe recession and increasing small business closure caused by COVID, these fines would be put on hold, or dismissed entirely, for the sake of maintaining a degree of functionality and security in a time where most of us are trying to maintain while still being able to pay for essentials. This was an incorrect assumption. Pictured, is the document we received yesterday - on our first day of opening since March - confirming the province's intent to prosecute us for amounts close to $3000. 'Draconian' would be the word that best describes the current approach of the Legault government and its Ministries toward the situation. There's a rich irony that all of this stems from the Ministry of Economy and "Innovation". The repeated message we have received from the CAQ is that penalty should occur before dialogue. Despite trying to open a line of communication with Pierre Fitzgibbon or anyone in the CAQ regarding an independent record store's role in the health of a community's social fabric, our appeals have remain unanswered. Some have suggested that we start a fundraiser for all the shops affected by this but, for Phonopolis, we believe there are many other causes happening in Quebec that should take financial precedent. We also believe that paying these fines would be set a dangerous precedent moving forward. That said, we are asking for help from our local MP in dismissing these fines once and for all. It seems to be the last option available to us, and we have grown somewhat disillusioned by how Projet Montreal have used this situation for the

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