The Canadian province of Quebec is set to enact a new health tax on the unvaccinated.
PremierFrançois Legault made the announcementamid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, which could require an additional 1,000 hospital workers and 1,500 nursing home staffers within the next few weeks.
Those who have not been vaccinated are already banned from entering liquor stores and cannabis shops, butLegault said the province will move one step further in their efforts to get everyone jabbed.
“Right now, it’s a question also of fairness for the 90 per cent of the population who made some sacrifices,” he said. “I think we owe them this kind of measure.”
Asked about the legal and ethical challenges that the government will likely face over the unprecedented tax, Legault acknowledged that the move is a “big deal.”
He said: “If you look at what’s happening in other countries or other states, everybody is trying to find a solution. It’s a question of equity because right now, these people, they put a very important burden on our health care network, and I think it’s normal that the majority of the population is asking that there be a consequence.”
Quebec’s premier didn’t disclose the amount of the new tax. He said the province will continue expanding application of the province’s vaccine passport requirements, but he argued that “we have to go further” than banning unvaccinated residents from public places.
Quebec reported 62 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, the most since January 2021, before the province’s vaccine rollout was in full swing.