January 12. A proposal by Quebec to tax unvaccinated people may be lawful but may also go against the spirit of Canada’s universal public health system, rights and medical experts said on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s surprise announcement by the province’s premier, Francois Legault, came with few details.
While his government would not say Wednesday how the tax would be levied, when or against whom, Canada’s Civil Liberties Association said it could violate Canadians’ fundamental rights, while health advocates expressed concern about its broader implications.
“I’ve not seen anything like this in Canada before. I’m worried about the precedent it would set,” said Danyaal Raza, a doctor with Unity Health in Toronto and former chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare.
Quebec, Canada’s second-most populous province, is struggling with surging COVID-19 hospitalizations, and Legault noted that the province’s relatively small unvaccinated population was represented disproportionately among the hospitalized.