COVID-19 Vaccines Will Be Mandatory In Canada 'One Day,' The Health Minister Predicts

Quebec has already signalled it's open to the measure.

Staff Writer
COVID-19 Vaccines Will Be Mandatory In Canada 'One Day,' The Health Minister Predicts
Bobhilscher | Dreamstime

Canadian Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says he believes COVID-19 vaccines will be mandatory in Canada "one day," but thinks the decision will be up to the provinces.

"With what we currently see happening [...] we know that COVID-19 is going to be with us for at least several more months, perhaps several years," the minister said at a Friday press conference.

"And given the fragility of our health care system in the country, the aging of the population, the rising costs of taking care of everyone, I think that this kind of measure, which is not currently under consideration [...] will be part of the discussions, reflections and even actions of the provinces and territories in the long term."

Quebec has already signalled it's open to such a move. In late December 2021, provincial Health Minister Chrisitan Dubé said officials wouldn't rule it out.

"If we have to go there, we'll go there. Right now, we're not there yet," he said on December 23.

Quebec Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda echoed Dubé's statement on December 28.

"Everything is on the table," he said, referring to mandatory vaccination. "This is not our first measure, of course. But I'm not closing the door on anything."

The Quebec government has made clear that it first intends to limit opportunities for the unvaccinated to access non-essential businesses and activities.

Dubé announced on January 6 that the provincial liquor and cannabis stores, the SAQ and SQDC, would require the vaccine passport as of January 18. Appointments for a first vaccine dose spiked after the announcement.

The minister said more businesses will require the passport in the coming months.

As of January 6, 82% of Quebecers had received a second vaccine dose.

Legault Elaborated On The Quebec Tax For The Unvaccinated

The 600,000 unvaccinated people will receive a call from the government.

Premier François Legault recently announced that unvaccinated Quebecers are going to be charged a "significant" fee if they refuse to get at least their first dose in the next few weeks unless they have a medical reason not to.

On Sunday, January 16, Legault appeared on the Quebec TV Show on Tout le monde en parle to discuss the new "health contribution" that non-vaccinated adults will be required to pay.

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The Latest Quebec Curfew Is Officially Over

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Rejoice! We can officially go on nightly walks again (if you can handle the cold) because Quebec's curfew was lifted as of Monday, January 17. That means no rushing to get home on time while risking fines.

During a press conference on Thursday, Premier François Legault said, "The reason we did this was to stop the exponential growth of the number of infections and then the number of hospitalizations. So given that we seem to have reached a peak, that permits us to remove the curfew."

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Quebec Bill 21 Won't Apply To Parents Who Volunteer In Schools & Wear Religious Symbols

Parents who supervise classes due to COVID-related staff shortages can wear hijabs, kippahs, crosses and turbans.

As a contingency plan to deal with a high number of staff shortages expected at schools in the coming weeks, Quebec's Ministry of Education has said parent volunteers might be asked to supervise classes if too many teachers get sick with COVID-19 and need to isolate. But, unlike teachers who are subject to Bill 21, volunteer parents can wear religious symbols in the classroom.

Quebec's controversial Bill 21, also known as Quebec's secularism law, prohibits public service workers — from police officers to teachers — from wearing hijabs, kippahs, crosses, turbans and other forms of religious symbols while at work. In fact, an elementary school teacher in Chelsea was removed from her position last month for wearing a hijab.

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On December 30, 2021, François Legault announced a handful of restrictions across Quebec, which included the closure of indoor dining and places of worship, and the postponement of a return to in-person learning at schools in the new year. In a January 13 Facebook post, Legault confirmed elementary and high school students would be returning to class as of Monday, January 17. But what about university students?

Montreal CEGEPs and universities also reverted to remote learning, however, things are looking a little different for students returning to in-person classes at post-secondary institutions. Premier Legault stated in a January 12 post that while universities could reopen their doors as of the 17th, they are being given extra leeway to determine the exact date in which in-person classes could resume.

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