Quebec tax on unvaccinated people: Trudeau speaks
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “strong incentives and measures” have worked in the fight against COVID-19, weighing on Quebec’s proposed tax on unvaccinated residents.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday in an update on the pandemic, Trudeau said Ottawa was reviewing Quebec’s plan to penalize people without medical exemption from a financial levy “with interest” and was awaiting more details of the province.
“As we said, strong incentives and measures, whether it is vaccination passports, requirements for travelers, requirements for officials to be fully vaccinated, we have taken very strong in the past and they have worked in terms of keeping Canadians safe, ”he said.
“We will continue to research and work with the provinces and review the proposed measures.”
Quebec announced Tuesday that it will introduce a financial penalty over the next few weeks for those who refuse to obtain the vaccine, as the health system continues to feel the pressure of the increase in COVID-19 cases.
Prime Minister François Legault said that $ 50 or $ 100 would not be “important” enough for him.
Trudeau said the province assured the federal government that the key principle of the Canada Health Act – that everyone has equal access to health care without financial or other barriers – will be respected.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos added to the Prime Minister’s remarks, noting that the vaccination warrants have proven to be effective.
“On the vaccine mandates, the key word here is benevolence. The language and the actions are there and designed to protect people. It’s a serious disease, we want people to be protected against it… No one, I believe, certainly thinks or talks about forcibly immunizing people in Canada, ”he said.
The federal government announced in August that it would require vaccination of the federal workforce and the federally regulated transportation sector.
Duclos echoed his sentiment expressed at last week’s government press conference that he suspects tighter vaccine mandates across the country will be a topic of conversation in the days and weeks to come.
The Prime Minister was quick to denounce the Conservative Party for continuing to spark a debate on the reception of unvaccinated people in Canada.
“Sir. O’Toole is here to try to protect his own leadership and he’s not thinking about protecting the healthcare workers who are on the front lines,” he said.
“Trying to pretend that rapid tests, or tests in general, are as good as getting the vaccine is just irresponsible.”
O’Toole has long said that while he supports vaccination and encourages Canadians to get vaccinated, efforts must also be made to make “reasonable” accommodations for those who are not vaccinated.
The Conservative Party has not made a public statement on Quebec’s proposal.
In a separate press conference on Wednesday, NDP health critic Don Davies said the party was interested in government approaches that encourage people to get vaccinated.
“Fundamentally, we believe that education and information specifically targeting people hesitant to vaccinate and parents concerned about vaccinating their children are productive ways to encourage people to get vaccinated,” he said.
He added that while he hasn’t had a chance to discuss the plan with his caucus, the expected impact of a $ 100 tax is unclear.
More than 7,000 people in Quebec registered for their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.
“Our highest for several days,” tweeted Quebec Minister of Health Christian Dubé, specifying that 5,000 appointments had also been made on Monday.
With a file from Rachel Lau of CTV News Montreal