Quebecers who refuse to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks without receiving medical exemptions might face health tax the province plans to impose, Quebec Premier François Legault said Tuesday.
Legault vowed to enact the new financial penalty for those who refuse to get their first vaccine dose for non-medical reasons to make them start paying for their impact on the health care system after he previously banned them from entering liquor stores or cannabis shops.
Unvaccinated are also banned from entering venues such as restaurants, theaters, bars, and casinos.
Legault also added that the province will continue expanding application of the Quebec’s vaccine passport requirements, stressing they’ll also have to go further than banning unvaccinated residents from public places.
He stressed that the new special tax is a question of fairness for the 90% of the residents who made sacrifices and are owed this kind of measure.
Though he refused to say when the tax would take effect or to disclose its amount, Legault pointed he wants it to be significant enough to act as an incentive to get the jab, adding that it could be included in people’s provincial tax filings without saying whether it would be in those for 2021, which are due by April 30, 2022.
However, Legault’s plan is already deemed “constitutionally vulnerable” by critics tough experts claim challenges are likely to fail since Quebec is well within its rights.
It makes sense from a fairness perspective to force people who pose the most burden on the health care system to pay more for it and Canadian provinces have a constitutional authority to levy direct taxes to pay for services like health care.
Professor David Duff from the University of British Columbia’s Peter A. Allard School of Law justifies the planned measure saying that Quebec authorities are just requiring people to pay a price if they pose a risk- similar to how it’s done with private insurance- not taking away people’s freedom.