He plans on ending the health emergency in February or March 2022.
Premier François Legault is standing firm on his government's decision to maintain Quebec's health emergency state. While opposition parties have called on the CAQ to end the emergency and even accused it of using the status to "abuse power," Legault said Tuesday that it's still necessary to enable the government "to take certain actions that they would not normally be able to take."
The premier claims that things like mandating masks in elementary school classes and enforcing a vaccine passport are only possible with the exceptional powers that come with the emergency declaration.
The Loi sur la santé publique sets the parameters of a health emergency status in Quebec.
Section 123 of the law gives the government broad power to order vaccinations for parts of the population, lock down parts of the province, freely spend to address a health crisis and "order any other measure necessary to protect the health of the population."
Legault has said the government would end the emergency once five to 11-year-olds are largely vaccinated against COVID-19. On Tuesday, he reiterated that commitment.
"I'm the first person to want to stop the health emergency," he said.
"We are quite convinced that once the children have had their two doses, which means somewhere in late February, early March, we will be able to remove" it.
"But at the moment we need it to keep certain instructions in place."