by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Officials in Quebec have announced plans to impose a new tax on residents who refuse to get vaccinated.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced the tax proposal on Tuesday, as COVID-19 and omicron cases rise in Quebec and around Canada.
“I’m announcing we are currently working on a healthcare contribution that will be charged to all adults that don’t want to get vaccinated. We are there now,” Legault said at a press conference. “Those who refuse to get the shot bring a financial burden to hospital staff and Quebecers. The 10% of the population can’t burden the 90%.”
Legault argued that the 10% of unvaccinated adults represent 50% of people in intensive care, describing it as a “shocking” situation. The premier compared the “contribution” to drug-insurance coverage, which Quebec residents pay as part of their taxes.
Individuals who are unvaccinated for medical purposes would be exempt from the tax, Legault claims. The premier did not mention if religious exemptions would also be exempt.
Legault said he would be working with his finance minister to work out the logistics of such a tax but specified that the contribution would be a “significant amount.”
News of the tax, which is the first in Canada, comes less than a day after Quebec’s public health director filed his resignation. Dr. Horacio Arruda served as director for 12 years and was reappointed in 2020 but has faced growing criticism over his COVID-19 leadership.
There were 8,710 new cases of COVID-19, 2,742 hospitalizations, and 62 deaths in Quebec on Tuesday, according to the region’s website. Quebec is considered one of the worst-hit provinces in Canada.
Let’s hope President Biden, Gov. Roy Cooper, and their legislative enablers don’t spend much time perusing Canadian news.