Faced with the Omicron threat, Quebec seeks to become the first city to tax the unvaccinated

WION Web Team
Montreal, Canada Published: Jan 12, 2022, 08:23 AM(IST)

Although Quebec is the first place to enact a specific tax, the pressure on those who remain unvaccinated by choice is ramping up everywhere.  Photograph:( AFP )

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The Quebec premier explained that ten per cent of unvaccinated adults represent fifty per cent of the intensive care patients, calling it shocking

Canada's province of Quebec is preparing to introduce a new health tax for individuals who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, as it struggles to control the Omicron variant.

"We are working on a health contribution for all the adults who are refusing to get vaccinated" because they represent a "financial burden for all Quebecois," said Quebec Premier Francois Legault.

According to him, the 10 per cent of Quebecois who have not received any vaccine doses must not "harm" the 90 per cent who have.

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In a press conference, he said that "it is not on all Quebecois to pay for that, specifying that the French-speaking province expected the tax to be substantial.

"I feel this discontent with regard to the unvaccinated minority which, all things considered, clogs our hospitals," he said.

The Quebec premier explained that these ten per cent of unvaccinated adults represent fifty per cent of the intensive care patients, calling it "shocking."

Those who are not vaccinated for medical reasons will not be affected by the new policy.

A total of 2,742 people in Quebec, which has 8 million inhabitants, are hospitalised with Covid, and 255 are in intensive care.

The number of hospitalisations also continues to rise in the neighbouring province of Ontario, the most populous in Canada, with 3,220 people hospitalised and 477 people in intensive care.

Also read | WHO says over 50% of Europeans on track to contract Omicron variant of coronavirus

Quebec announced on December 30 a return of certain restrictions in the fight against the new waves of Coronavirus infections. Among the restrictions is a curfew of 10 pm, as well as a ban on private gatherings.

A recent announcement by the province announced that non-essential stores will be closed to people without vaccinations, beginning with stores that sell alcohol and cannabis. 

However, Eric Duhaime, head of Quebec's Conservative opposition party, lamented the provincial government's anti-Covid strategy, tweeting that the new fee would "divide" Quebecois.

Dominique Anglade, leader of the Quebec Liberal party and a supporter of mandatory vaccination, called the tax a "distraction."

Although Quebec is the first place to enact a specific tax, the pressure on those who remain unvaccinated by choice is ramping up everywhere. 

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The French government has instituted a vaccine passport, and Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to "piss off" the unvaccinated.

Austria has mandated Coronavirus vaccines for all citizens, and Italy has implemented the same policy for those over 50. 

For those who refuse the vaccine, Singapore has stated that it will no longer cover the costs of treatment with Covid. 

In Canada, it has been suggested at the federal level that those who are unvaccinated be deprived of unemployment benefits.

(With inputs from agencies)

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