Published:  12:12 AM, 13 January 2022

Quebec to levy 'significant' financial penalty on unvaccinated adults

Quebec to levy 'significant' financial penalty on unvaccinated adults
The premier of the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec announced Tuesday (Jan 11) that adult residents who refuse to get vaccinated against the corona virus will be charged a financial penalty. Premier Francois Legault said not getting vaccinated leads to consequences for the healthcare system and not all Quebecers should pay for that.

He said the levy will apply only to people who do not qualify for medical exemptions. It is the first time a government in Canada has announced a financial penalty for people who refuse to be vaccinated in the pandemic. Legault said the amount of the penalty has not been decided, but will be "significant". More details will be released at a later date. He said about 10 per cent of adults in Quebec are unvaccinated, but they represent about 50 per cent of intensive care patients. "Those who refuse to get their first doses in the coming weeks will have to pay a new health contribution," Legault said. "The majority are asking that there be consequences. ... It's a question of fairness for the 90 per cent of the population that have made some sacrifices. We owe them."

Quebec previously announced a 10pm to 5 am curfew. Quebec liquor and cannabis stores will also require proof of vaccination to enter starting Jan 18 and the government has warned that shopping malls and hair salons could soon require vaccine passports. Appointments for first doses jumped immediately after. Quebec reported 62 more deaths related to COVID-19, the sometimes fatal illness that can be caused by the coronavirus. That raised the province's COVID-19 deaths to 12,028, the most in Canada.

Some European countries have started levying fees on their citizens who are not vaccinated.

--- AP, Montreal

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