Do you have a membership at a fitness or weight management centre that is closed because of COVID-19? The following questions may be of interest to you.

Do I have the right to suspend the payments provided for in my contract? i

You have a membership with unlimited access for a given period lasting up to a maximum of one year. In most cases, a payment schedule is included in your contract. If you can no longer receive the service described in your contract because of the closure ordered by the Québec government, you may suspend the payments you would normally have to make to the merchant.

Do I have the right to suspend the payments made by pre-authorized debits? i

If you are paying for your membership by pre-authorized debits, it is in your best interest to have the payments stopped during the closure period ordered by the Québec government. To do so, you must notify the merchant and your financial institution, preferably in writing.

If the pre-authorized debit instalments are still going through, you must inform the merchant of that fact. Once the situation has returned to normal, you can try to reach an agreement with the merchant regarding the amounts you have paid for the service you have not received. If you fail to reach an agreement, you can send the merchant a formal demand before turning to the courts.

I have paid the full cost of my membership in advance. Do I have the right to be reimbursed for the portion of the services I have not received? i

You have paid the full cost of your membership at a centre, but you are unable to use it because of the measures adopted by the Québec government to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Once the situation has returned to normal, you can try to reach an agreement with the merchant regarding the services that were paid for but not received. If you fail to reach an agreement, you can send a formal demand to the merchant before turning to the courts.

What can I do if the contract I have signed with a fitness or weight management centre contains a “force majeure” clause? i

Such a clause could specify, among other things, that you must fulfill your obligation (i.e. pay for your membership), even if the centre has to close due to a “force majeure” (superior force, or fortuitous event). You can then consider the option of cancelling your contract in order to reduce the loss incurred.

For more details, refer to the page that explains how to cancel a membership at a fitness or weight management centre.

Can a merchant offer to extend my contract to compensate for the days on which the centre was closed? i

Yes, under certain conditions. The maximum length of a membership contract with a fitness or weight management centre is one year. The merchant should therefore not extend an ongoing contract if doing so would increase the length of the contract to beyond one year.

However, nothing prevents a merchant from offering to renew your contract upon its expiry for a length of time that is equivalent to the number of days the centre was closed, free of charge ($0). The merchant could also offer you to enter into a new contract that would include free services that correspond to the value of the services already paid for but that were not provided because of the closure.

Before the pandemic, I had a membership for a limited period at a gym for which I paid fees every month. When the gym closed by order of the government, the gym suspended my membership as well as payment of the fees. Now that the gym has reopened, does my membership resume where it was suspended? i

Yes. For example, if there were 2 months left in your membership, you are entitled to use these 2 last months at the rate provided for in your contract. The merchant is also entitled to require that you pay for these 2 last months, even if you have no plans to go to the gym. You could, however, decide to cancel your membership, but the gym could charge you a compensation fee. The page that explains how to cancel a membership provides all the details.

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Last update : May 6, 2021

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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.