Quebec Scraps Tax on the Unvaccinated | CBC

Quebec Scraps Tax on the Unvaccinated | CBC


Quebec Premier François Legault announced his proposed tax on the unvaccinated earlier this month, but is now reportedly dropping the plan.

He says his government will not go ahead with a proposed tax on the unvaccinated, in order to protect "social cohesion" in the province.

Legault made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday, where he also eased restrictions on gyms and sports activities.

The tax, first announced in January by the premier, would have imposed a monetary penalty on Quebecers who are eligible but who refuse to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Legault says while his government has a bill ready to go, he's decided not to table it after seeing "growing discontent" in the population.

"I understand that this divides Quebecers and right now we need to build bridges," said Legault. "My role is to try to bring Quebecers together to stay united as a people."

Details of the tax had remained vague, with Legault saying it could be included in provincial tax filings. He had said he wanted the cost to be "significant," suggesting it would be more than $100. 

But he said instead of a tax, the government will use different measures to try to persuade people to get vaccinated, such as sending teams door-to-door to offer at-home vaccination, or to encourage people to make an appointment.

Community advocates, bioethicists and other experts raised concerns about the proposal, saying that more education was needed, instead of punitive measures.

Others questioned the legal ramifications, saying the proposed tax could run afoul of the Canada Health Act.

Vardit Ravitsky, a professor of bioethics at the Université de Montréal and at Harvard medical school, says the tax would have had a disproportionate impact on low-income people.

Ravitsky believes the proposal touched a nerve with many across the province and the country, because of how Canadian society views the right to health care.


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