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.
The premier began by saying that the Government of Quebec will "reach out one by one" to the 600,000 adults who have not yet received a vaccine dose to inform them about the fee and ensure that the person is not in a vulnerable situation and has good reasons to refuse the vaccine.
"The objective, indeed, is to be able to have a list of people who refuse to be vaccinated, not for medical reasons, not because they don't speak French or because they don't have access to vaccines. And these people, if they really refuse, given that they bring an enormous burden on the health care system, I think it is normal that they pay a contribution," Legault stated
How much such will cost has not been announced yet, nor is it known exactly what form it will take. The "health contribution" was compared on the program to a "fine" received for running a red light.
Guy A. Lepage, one of the show's hosts, asked Mr. Legault how the government was going to get the list of non-vaccinated people, since patients' medical information is supposed to be protected by confidentiality.
Government lawyers are working on this and a bill is expected to be debated with the opposition parties in the National Assembly in early February, which is when we'll find out how much the fee would cost.
According to Legault, if important surgeries are postponed, it is "often because of the non-vaccinated."
"One person going into intensive care can cost up to $50,000. Multiply that [by] a few hundred non-vaccinated people continually adding up, it's a lot of money, but it's mostly a risk for all the people who have their surgeries postponed."
Quebec's vaccine passport will be mandatory for more businesses in the near future. With the province reeling under the Omicron wave, Health Minister Christian Dubé made it clear at a press conference on Thursday that the vaccination passport will soon become mandatory for more unspecified "non-essential" commercial businesses.
"The vaccination passport will be mandatory as of January 18 to access the SAQ and the SQDC. Moreover, the vaccination passport will be extended to non-essential commerces in the coming weeks," said Dubé.
The health minister said that there's not yet a list of what businesses will be affected, but that health experts are reviewing the matter and will reveal the list of businesses soon.
There are several upcoming changes to the vaccination passport system that you need to be aware of. In addition to it being mandatory at the SAQ and the SQDC as of January 18, the government announced that eventually the vaccine passport will be updated to include the third dose.
"Right now, a vaccine passport is valid with two doses," said Dubé. "We haven't determined the date because we can't ask people to meet the requirements when they haven't had the chance to be vaccinated, but we will expand the vaccine passport to three doses."
Referencing the displeasure of the unvaccinated, Dubé said that "there's a very simple solution: it's to get vaccinated. It's free and it will protect you from the disease."
In the latest turn of events in the mounting national opposition to Quebec's controversial Bill 21, Toronto Mayor John Tory said that Toronto's city council will vote on a motion to help fund legal battles against the law, which bans many public servants from wearing religious symbols while performing their duties.
Tory also voiced his personal opposition to Bill 21 in a statement published on Twitter. "I continue to be opposed to Quebec's Bill 21. Today, I will ask City Council to help fund the legal fight against Bill 21," the mayor wrote.
I continue to be opposed to Quebec's Bill 21. Toronto City Council has also repeatedly voiced its opposition to this bill. Today, I will ask City Council to help fund the legal fight against Bill 21.pic.twitter.com/TyekKVJ2NX
This news follows a recent letter published by Brampton, Ontario mayor Patrick Brown in which he implores mayors across Canada to consider pooling their cities' financial resources to help "fight Bill 21 in the courts."
Mayor Tory said Thursday that he stands with Brown and "[encourages] other cities across Canada to join this fight to uphold the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."
In the past week, Quebec has been under fire for applying Bill 21 to remove elementary school teacher Fatemeh Anvari, who wears a hijab, from her position in the city of Chelsea. The incident prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to speak out against the law.
"I don't find that in a free and open society that someone should lose their job because of their religion," Trudeau said at a press conference on Monday.
Quebec Premier François Legault clapped back, insisting laws need to be enforced. He said the local school board made a mistake by hiring Anvari.
What will Legault have to say about this latest move by Tory?
At a press conference on Thursday, Premier François Legault, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several other government representatives announced huge new investments into Canada's aerospace industry. These investments are set to create "more than 1,000" high-paying jobs in Quebec and the rest of Canada.
"The projects announced today are tangible platforms for creating exciting jobs," Aéro Montréal explained in a press release.