At a press conference on Thursday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé revealed that the province will be offering electronic proof of vaccination to Quebecers who have already received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine starting on Thursday, May 13.
Dubé described this proof as "a QR code that will be provided by email to Quebecers." Here's what you need to know.
This emailed proof of vaccination will be similar to the paper copy you'll receive after you get your first dose, said Dubé.
In a nutshell, it's an additional layer of vaccine proof that you can always have access to if you lose the paper they give you at the clinic.
"The piece of paper that you receive when you get vaccinated is just proof that you have been vaccinated," the health minister explained.
"We will send an email and that person will be asked: Would you like to receive a QR code? And then, that person will confirm by email and we'll send it to them."
Dubé explained that the QR code will contain information on the vaccine an individual received, as well as the dates they got their dose.
Quebecers will have an option to get an updated code once they get their second dose.
Is this like a vaccine passport?
Dubé was adamant that this isn't a vaccine passport.
"Right now, the piece of paper that you receive when you get vaccinated is just a proof that you have been vaccinated. It's not a passport. [...] So, that's the same thing. We just go from paper to digital. That's the first step."
Will there eventually be a vaccination passport?
That much is unclear. But Dubé said the ministry has "asked public health to do intensive work on it."
He suggested officials would get back to the public to share possible uses of the proof of vaccination.
National Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda added that there are ethical questions about possible vaccine passports to sort out first.
"What we want to do here is a good analysis, given the ethical and other issues. I think there may be a use for it. [...] We're not saying no, we're saying we're looking at it."
"We, the undersigned, demand that the Government of Quebec publicly reject, as of now, the idea of a mandatory vaccination passport and that it commit itself to do like the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has done, that is to say, prohibit the obligation to present a vaccination passport in order to attend certain events and practice certain activities," the petition states.
Samson, a former Coalition Avenir Québec member who switched sides in June, held a press conference about the petition alongside Conservative Party of Quebec leader Eric Duhaime on August 12. They explained that the party had already collected 133,000 signatures on a previous petition that did not meet the criteria of the National Assembly.
"We reviewed the wording [...] So we're going to ask these hundreds of thousands of people to re-sign their petition on the National Assembly website, and we're going to invite Quebecers who don't agree with the vaccine passport to come forward as well," Samson said.
The petition, which was posted to the National Assembly website on August 12, had garnered more than 75,000 signatures at the time this article was published.
The premier said Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé will disclose details of the vaccine passport in Quebec in the coming days.
Why does Legault think Quebec needs a vaccine passport?
Legault said that though the recent rise in new COVID-19 cases in Quebec is low compared to other countries, Quebec has entered the start of a fourth wave of COVID-19. Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said there was evidence of a fourth wave in Canada on July 30.
"We will be giving certain privileges to those who have accepted the effort to go and get two doses," Legault said.
"[Those people] have to live a semi-normal life [and] have to be able to have access to all activities, including non-essential activities like going to a restaurant."
The premier said that in Quebec, 83% of the population over 12 years old has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 67% of the population has received two.
"Right now the people finding themselves in the hospital, the large majority were not vaccinated," Legault said.
"Nobody in Quebec wants to relive what we lived last year, [...] being obliged to postpone surgeries because our hospitals are full," he said.
However, Legault confirmed that the province is maintaining the objective of having students on all levels — from elementary to university — return to school in-person this fall.
How could Quebec's vaccine passport be used?
In Quebec's July 8 announcement of its vaccine passport plan, the ministry of health said it would not be used to access essential or public services, like hospitals, schools and elections — but it could be implemented for non-essential services in high-risk activities like gyms, team sports, bars and restaurants.
The vaccine passport could also be implemented in moderate or low-risk activities that involve large groups of people, like arts and entertainment shows, festivals and sporting events.
"Today, it is important to recognize the systemic racism against First Nations and Inuit within the health and social services network in order to put in place structuring actions to promote a more egalitarian and fairer relationship between these communities and nurses," said a statement by Luc Mathieu, president of the OIIQ.
The organization said that, after Echaquan's death, it made a "firm commitment" to prevent similar acts of racism by health care providers, as well as to rebuild trust with Indigenous communities to ensure they get the safe medical care they are entitled to.
In order to strengthen nurses' knowledge on Indigenous relations in health care, the OIIQ said it tasked its education committee with evaluating nurses' initial training in intercultural relations and cultural safety for First Nations and Inuit patients.
The organization also said it is taking necessary steps to implement continuing education activities for nurses on the same topics.
The "Winning to be Vaccinated!" contest, organized in partnership with Loto-Québec, will be split into two separate contests — one for Quebecers aged 18 and over, and one for Quebec youth between the ages of 12 and 17.
Adults Aged 18+
From August 1 to August 27, the contest will offer a weekly draw of $150,000 in cash prizes among adult participants who received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, for a total value of $600,000.
A $1 million prize for adult participants will be drawn on September 3, among fully vaccinated Quebecers over 18 years old. But there's a catch — you must have received your first dose by August 3, and your second dose by August 31.
Youth Aged 12 to 17
For Quebecers in the youth age group, from August 1 through August 27, Quebec is offering a weekly draw for two scholarships of $10,000 each among those who have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, for a total value of $80,000.
For fully-vaccinated Quebecers in the 12 to 17 age group, Quebec will draw 16 scholarships of $20,000 each on September 3, for a total value of $320,000.
Who's eligible to enter the contest
You've received a COVID-19 vaccine in Quebec
You've had a confirmed diagnosis of COVID 19 and received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
You've received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine recognized by Health Canada outside Quebec and have had the vaccine recognized by the government
You do not work for Quebec's health or finance ministries (those who do are not eligible for the competition).
Official lottery rules will be released sometime before contest registration opens, which is scheduled for July 25. Participants can register by 11:59 p.m. the day before each draw through Quebec's Vaccine Proof Portal.