QUEBEC CITY -- The Legault government will prorogue the National Assembly and launch a new parliamentary session on Oct. 19, setting the stage for the government's next election campaign. 

Premier François Legault made the announcement late Thursday afternoon in a news release, but the decision must be approved by his cabinet and it won't be official until it is proclaimed by the lieutenant-governor.

The premier did not hold a press conference on Thursday to explain the decision. 

"Thanks to the efforts of all Quebecers, we can begin to plan for the post-pandemic. The past year-and-a-half has transformed us and brought forward crucial issues for Quebec. In addition to completing our commitments for 2018, we must begin now the major changes of the next few years," he wrote in his release.

Next week, MNAs were already scheduled to take a break.

The new session will begin with a speech from the throne, which will outline the government's priorities for the final months of its current mandate. 

In the last year of its mandate, a government does not want to project the image of a worn-out team, lacking in ideas. For the Legault government, time is running out if it wants to fulfill all of its 2018 election commitments before the next election deadline in October 2022.

A debate on the premier's opening speech lasting a total of 25 hours will begin at the next sitting of the National Assembly.

Prorogation ends work on all bills before the legislature, though the government can bring back legislation it considers essential and pick up where it left off.

It's expected that the prorogation will not change anything for Bill 96, which has reached the clause-by-clause stage, and the tabling of amendments to the vast reform of Bill 101 or the Charter of the French Language from Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette. The consultation ended on Thursday.

The latter will not be idle, having to defend in parallel his Bill 92, aimed at creating a specialized court for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

One of the first bills to be tabled in the next session will be the much-anticipated bill on child-care services. Minister Mathieu Lacombe has promised to complete the network and to revise the law that governs it. The waiting list for a place exceeds 50,000 names.

Another who will not be idle will be Health Minister Christian Dubé, who will have to continue to manage the fourth wave of the pandemic, while piloting a reform of the health network to make it more efficient. A bill is expected this fall. 

On the economic front, one of the government's priorities will be to address the widespread labour shortage.

This will be the first time a Quebec premier has prorogued the legislature -- an exceptional measure -- since Jean Charest used the procedural mechanism in February 2011.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 7, 2021.