Moving Day – La Journée Nationale Du Déménagement

In a very curious custom, today seems to be the day when leases renew in Montréal, so it’s Moving Day, when a few hundred thousand Québecois decide to switch residence on the same day. Movers are sitting on their hands much of the rest of the year, but are booked solid for July 1 months in advance. Even at rates that are triple normal.

Why?

Moving Day

According to the Wikipedia.fr entry, the explanation partially lies with the legislator, since on January 1, 1974, a new Quebec law came into effect, which made all leases signed till April 30 of that year valid till June 30. Ever since, moving day in Quebec has been July 1.

Quebec law had tried to avoid tenants being evicted during winter, and even in Quebec, winter’s long gone by May 1. The Civil Code Amendment Act abolished May 1 as the end date of a lease and let the landlord, as part of its lease agreement with the tenant, set the termination date. In addition, the Act provided for transitional arrangements for leases expiring April 30 or May 1, 1974 by an extension until June 30, 1975.

1876

Most leases in Quebec are still a year long and begin around July 1. Although there is no obligation to have a lease end on June 30, it does, in some ways, make finding a new home easier when leases finish on the same date.

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Back in 2002, James Kalafatidis, president of the provincial Equality Party, trotted out a conspiracy theory:

“The separatist government has in the past sought every means it could to reduce Canada’s presence in the minds of Quebecers. I am absolutely 100 per cent sure there is a conspiracy afoot at the provincial level. I don’t think there’s a territory anywhere in North America that has a moving day on a national holiday. Would the Americans do it on July 4? Or Quebecers on June 24? It’s absurd.”

The Equality party planned to introduce a motion in the National Assembly upon its return to change moving day from July 1 to another weekend. No dice.

The conspiracy theory also collapses when you realize that the Bourassa government was in power and that the Bill was introduced by a federalist deputé, Jérôme Choquette of the PLQ.

A recent survey showed significant ignorance of landlord and tenant law:

Le sondage, effectué auprès de 1051 personnes, révèle que 64 % des Québécois ne connaissent pas tous les aspects légaux entourant l’achat d’une maison ou d’un condominium.

For practical advice click here and Connie’s Slaw post. And for stories from people who have endured Moving Day, here

Our Québec readers who still have problems moving should contact the Régie de Logement

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Or you can watch a British film on the phenomenon.

Déménagement

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Comments

  1. The year I spent in Quebec was back in the days of the April 30 termination. On April 29 we had an inch of snow (that was a couple of years before it became 2.5 cm). So winter was not quite over… though most or all had melted by the time we had to move.

    Even Quebec Liberals could be happy to have a reason to de-emphasize July 1 (still Dominion Day when I was there) over la Saint-Jean-Baptiste. OTOH it was probably an oversight, which already says something. And most people don’t move, anyway.

    Nice collection of pics, Simon.

  2. Another non-political reason for moving the moving day from April 30 to June 30: the summer date avoids possible disruption of kids’ schooling, when parents might be forced to move to a different school zone entirely with two months to go in the year.

  3. Yosie Saint-Cyr

    I never thought I’d read about Quebec’s national moving day on Slaw… good one!