Quebec to become first Canadian province to tax unvaccinated individuals

Premier François Legault said it is a matter of "fairness" to have the unvaccinated pay for the burden they are placing on the country's socialized health care system

Updated: January 12, 2022 - 11:06am

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Officials in Quebec have announced that they plan to tax people who remain unvaccinated for COVID-19 for non-medical reasons.

"All people who are not vaccinated for non-medical reasons will have to pay a contribution," Premier François Legault said Tuesday. It is unclear how much that "contribution" will be, though the premier assured citizens it will be "significant."

With the announcement, Quebec will become the first province in Canada to impose a financial penalty on unvaccinated individuals. As is the case across the U.S., and worldwide, Quebec is experiencing a surge in virus cases and hospitalizations due to the onset of the Omicron variant.

Legault said that there are roughly 10% of adults in Quebec who refuse to get vaccinated, and that unvaccinated individuals make up about half of current COVID hospitalizations in intensive care units. For that reason, he argued, unvaccinated people should pay for the burden they are placing on the health care system. 

"I think right now it’s a question of fairness for the 90% of the population who made some sacrifice," he said. "I think we owe them this kind of measure."