Quebec government to charge ’significant’ financial penalty to the unvaccinated

On Tuesday, January 11, Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced that the unvaccinated will be charged an additional fee for health care services because of their refusal to get the vaccine.

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During the press conference, Premier Legault said, “Well, they will have a bill to pay because there are consequences on our health care network and it’s not up to all Quebeckers to pay for this.”

Legault said, “the vaccine is the key to fight the virus” in today’s press conference, however, mounting evidence is showing that the vaccine does not prevent COVID-19 transmission and may not be necessary for younger individuals with no comorbidities. 

During the press conference, Legault said the province is consulting with the Minister of Finance to determine how the “health-care contribution” will be applied and how much. However, Legault said $50 or $100 “is not significant” enough for what he has in mind.

Legault hopes to have this policy apply “in the next few weeks” for adults who refuse to get their first dose of the vaccine.

This policy brings up questions as to what will happen to individuals who do not pay this “significant” penalty. Experts say this might be a way for the government to impose criminal offenses on the unvaccinated who refuse to pay the newly imposed tax. 

During the press conference Legault said that this policy is “a question of equity because right now, these people, they put a very important burden on our healthcare network.”

Adding, “I think it’s normal that the majority of the population is asking that there be a consequence.”

Legault also confirmed that the vaccine passport would be expanded in the province and more restrictions may be ahead.

“Yes, we will continue to look at spreading the use of the vaccine passport, but I think we have to go further.”

The province of Quebec already has one of the largest income tax burdens for individuals. Despite the socialized healthcare that costs Quebeckers nearly one billion dollars weekly, the system is unable to handle the surge in hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

The province has shut down all restaurants, bars, venues, and places of worship and imposed a mandatory curfew as cases surged. 

Universal access to healthcare has been a cornerstone of modern Canadian politics. Imposing a specific tax on a portion of the population would bring serious questions regarding this principle. 

Other categories of individuals who are often overrepresented in hospital admissions have not been charged additional taxes, such as smokers, drug addicts, and obese patients.

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