Quebec Government to Charge Unvaccinated People With “Significant” Financial Penalty

Quebec Premier Francois Legault

In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • Quebec is considering a significant 'tax' on its unvaccinated citizens.

    • Quebec claims that only 10% of its eligible citizens remain unvaccinated.

    • Premier Francois Legault believes the rest of Quebec should not have to pay for the unvaccinated's COVID medical bills.

  • Reflect On:
    • What precedent is being set here if a symptom management medication can be forced upon people at the penalty of fines?

    • Does this suggest people who do risky things, eat poorly, drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes be fined as well?

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Quebec has become the first province in Canada to consider charging unvaccinated citizens a ‘tax’ for choosing to remain unvaccinated without a good medical reason.

During a January 11th press conference, Premier Francois Legault stated with regards to consequences for not being vaccinated,

“Well, they will have a bill to pay because there are consequences on our health care network and it’s not up to all Quebeckers to pay for this.”

As of now, the province is looking to make this financial penalty “significant” claiming that something like $50 or $100 is not significant enough. However there is no estimation of what the cost will be as of yet.

Legault also stated that “the vaccine is the key to fight the virus,” a common talking point used by politicians and health authorities that is not backed up by science. Mounting evidence continues to indicate that the vaccine does not prevent COVID-19 transmission and is not necessary for younger individuals as their rates of severe disease are extremely small. This means by blanket mandating vaccines and boosters, many people’s lives are unnecessarily being put at risk.

The Quebec government claims that 90% of Quebecers have been vaccinated and that currently 50% of those in ICU are unvaccinated.

The challenge with fines like this is that most people who get COVID-19 will never end up in hospital. Data shows that less than 1% of people, even unvaccinated, will end up in hospital from COVID. Yet politicians make it sound as though if you’re unvaccinated you always have COVID and are always going to spread it to someone else. This has caused the vast majority of people in the US, for example, to overestimate the hospitalization risk of COVID dramatically.

Having had a case of delta myself, and being unvaccinated, never during the course of my illness did I think I would end up in hospital. If I lived in Quebec why should I be charged a tax for being young, healthy and for taking care of myself?

Premier Legault believes that not getting vaccinated leads to consequences for the health care system and not all Quebecers should have to pay for that. This is a curious belief to have as it sets an interesting precedent. Should people who eat poorly, drink alcohol in excess or who smoke cigarettes suddenly be charged a tax because their choices lead to expensive medical care over time? Where else could this idea be applied that could actually make a larger, and positive, impact?

Regardless, this may be Quebec’s way of criminally charging its citizens for not taking a symptom management medication.

Quebec just recently made a third dose of a COVID vaccine a necessary requirement to be considered “fully vaccinated.”

Quebec is not the only place in the world taking such authoritarian measures. In Greece, people over 60 have until Jan. 16 to get their first jabs or be fined 100 euros ($113 USD) for every month they remain unvaccinated. Austria has a similar law but for all people over 14. Their government plans to fine citizens up to 3,600 euros (around $4,000) for remaining unvaccinated. They may even face jail time if they do not comply. You can learn more about Austria’s fine schedule here.

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