The premier of Quebec on Tuesday announced his intention to financially penalize residents of the province who are not vaccinated for non-medical reasons.
Premier François Legault told a press conference that the unvaccinated, although they represent 10% of the population of Quebec, exert a disproportionate stress on hospitals in the French-speaking province. As of Tuesday, COVID-19 deaths in Quebec reached 12,028, the highest in Canada.
“Those who refuse to receive their first doses in the coming weeks will have to pay a new health contribution,” said Mr. Legault.
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“The majority demand that there be consequences. (…) It is a question of fairness for the 90% of the population who have made sacrifices. We owe them”, he added.
Legault also explained that the sanction has not yet been determined, but promised that it would be “significant”.
The Quebec tax for unvaccinated people is the first of its kind in Canada, which Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said last week that he foresees a possible national vaccination mandate.
“I see it coming personally. Not now. I don’t think we’re there yet. But I think decisions need to be made regarding mandatory vaccinations because we need to get rid of COVID-19,” the minister said. Health about a vaccine mandate, according to an English translation on CBC.
Duclos’ office later issued a statement stressing that such decisions fall under provincial jurisdiction.
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Since December 31, Quebec has imposed a curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., which sparked negative reactions earlier this month when even dog walking was banned. A Department of Health official later said the new rules would be adjusted to accommodate dog owners.
In October, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deployed one of the most stringent COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the world. As of October 30, employees in all federally regulated industries were to be vaccinated or face layoff. Anyone over 12 who wanted to travel by plane, train or boat also needed to be vaccinated.
Fox News’s Edmund DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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