The fine for unvaccinated would not apply to those with a medical exemption, and no details were released, although officials said the amount to be levied would be “significant”.
At a Covid-19 briefing Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would not consider whether Quebec’s financial sanction on unvaccinated people was a good policy, and said he needed to see more details.
Trudeau underlined that Canada has strict vaccine mandates for airline and rail passengers, federal employees and workplaces that are regulated by the federal government.
“And for people who continue to hesitate or choose not to get vaccinated, they lose the privileges to do certain things, whether it’s the train or the plane, whether it’s traveling internationally, or advancing with a job in the public service,” Trudeau said at a news conference Wednesday, recognizing that there is an ongoing discussion about how best to encourage the unvaccinated.
Last week, Quebec, home to nearly a quarter of all Canadians, announced that residents must be vaccinated in order to purchase alcohol or cannabis. To eat in restaurants, go to the gym or go to sporting events, a vaccination certificate is required.
Canada’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos added that while the new Quebec sentence could not violate Canadian health laws, vaccination is the way out of the pandemic and mandates have been a useful tool in Canada.
“We’ve also demonstrated at the federal level that vaccine mandates work. 99% of government officials, almost 99% of federal officials are either fully vaccinated or will be fully vaccinated soon,” Duclos said at a news conference in Ottawa. on Wednesday.
Public health officials say the vast majority of patients in Quebec hospitals are unvaccinated. Officials have not said how many Covid patients in the hospital have not been vaccinated.