Quebec Premier Francois Legault has a message for those Quebecers who are currently unvaccinated without a medical exemption: roll up your sleeves to at least get a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or open your wallets and pay a special health tax.
During a recent news conference, the premier said that the province will impose this “health tax” for those who refuse to get a first dose of the vaccine; however, he did not specifically state when the tax will take effect, or how much the amount will be, although he hinted that it would be more than $50 or $100.
“We’re looking for a health contribution for adults who refuse to be vaccinated for non-medical reasons,” he said. Legault added that this contribution may be included in their provincial tax returns for 2021. This proposed “health tax” will affect the approximately 10 percent of Quebecers who have not yet been vaccinated, yet occupy about 50 percent of the beds in hospitals across the province as a result of COVID-19.
Legault also stated that this 10 percent of the population “put a very important burden on our health-care network. I think it’s reasonable a majority of the population is asking that there be consequences.”
This proposed provincial “health tax” has its share of opponents, believing that it is unethical. One of them is prominent Montreal civil rights lawyer Julius Grey, who told CBC News that forcing people to get vaccinated can be regarded as a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that such a discriminatory tax can be challenged in court.
Legault also announced at that same news conference that the government is considering the idea of expanding the use of the vaccination passport to more businesses such as hairdressers and other personal care-type businesses. They will be required before entering any branch of the provincially run alcohol and cannabis stores, which will go into effect as of January 18.