Attention all snowbirds: Quebec is in the process of changing the rules for travelling as we speak.
During the provincial government's press conference on December 29, Health Minister Christian Dubé said that the Quebec government has asked the federal government to enforce three new regulations for people who travel outside of Quebec.
We want to avoid reproducing what happened after the March break this spring.
These three new measures are as follows:
1. An obligation to get tested for COVID-19 "before taking your plane back to Quebec."
2. For COVID-19 testing clinics to be brought to the Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and the Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, so travellers returning to Quebec could be tested rapidly upon arrival.
3. More intense follow-ups with individuals when they are in mandatory quarantine after travelling.
According to the health minister, the Canadian government has said these new measures could come into place by the "beginning of January."
But, Dubé mentioned that he thinks we should not be waiting another week for these rules to come into play.
The pressure to enforce these new regulations comes as photos are being published of Quebecers vacationing in the South, in a similar manner as in past years.
Dubé called the photos "shocking for everyone, especially for the ones who follow the rules and for health care workers."
While there's a myriad of possible reasons as to why Trudeau is ahead in the province, his handling of the pandemic could be the biggest. Among the Quebecers polled, 46% believed that health care is the most pressing issue in the upcoming election and 53% said the current prime minister "has performed well on pandemic management."
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"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.
On August 13, the Government of Canada announced that it plans to require employees and certain travellers in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors to be vaccinated.
This includes all commercial air travellers, passengers taking the train between provinces, and passengers on "large marine vessels with overnight accommodations," like cruise ships.
However, the government announcement specified that there will be exceptions. Those who are unable to be vaccinated may receive accommodation, such as testing or screening instead.
"Driving vaccine uptake in Canada to as high a level as possible is one of the most effective, and least disruptive, means at our disposal to sustain the gains we have made in recent months," said Jean-Yves Duclos, president of Canada's Treasury Board, in a statement.
The feds have yet to announce the specific dates that the new vaccine rules come into effect. But, according to the announcement, it will be "as soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October."
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccine and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.