The announcement that Quebec would start requiring vaccine passports at SAQ and SQDC locations has sparked conversations around access to legal pot and booze in the province.
Quebecers can actually order alcohol and cannabis from the Société des alcools du Québec and Société québécoise du cannabis and get it delivered right to their doorstep. Added bonuses? No waiting in line, no venturing out in the cold weather, no chance of encountering potentially aggressive crowds and a significantly lower chance of catching or spreading COVID-19.
How do I order SAQ and SQDC products for delivery?
For the SQDC, your order should arrive between one and three working days if you select standard delivery via Canada Post. However, there are also same-day express delivery options for several cities in the Greater Montreal area and the Quebec City/Mauricie region.
How much does it cost?
In addition to the cost of the products, SAQ delivery costs $12 per order.
Standard SQDC delivery is $5 per order, while same-day express delivery costs $9 per order.
Any special rules I should know about?
You have to be of legal age to purchase these products, which is 18 or older at the SAQ and 21 or older at the SQDC. You'll be asked to provide proof upon delivery.
Also, the maximum amount of cannabis you can buy at once is 30 grams.
As of January 18, entry into the provincial liquor and cannabis stores, the SAQ and the SQDC, will require vaccine passports.
Health Minister Christian Dubé announced this news during a recent press conference on January 6, saying, "I hope this will be an additional incentive for some to go get their first dose."
But the same rules will not apply to either store's staff members.
SAQ spokesperson Linda Bouchard told MTL Blog that "as is the case for all other establishments that must apply for the vaccination passport (cultural and sports establishments as well as bars and restaurants), vaccination is not mandatory for employees in the course of their work."
However, SAQ employees will be required to show proof of vaccination if they wish to purchase items in the stores, even if these purchases are made while they are already in the branch for work.
As for the rules for SQDC employees, spokesperson Fabrice Giguère explained to MTL Blog that "as per the sanitary measures actually in effect, our employees are not obligated to be vaccinated. At the moment there is no mandatory vaccination in Québec. Therefore, the vaccination status of our employees is the same as everywhere else."
Unvaccinated Quebecers will still be able to order alcohol and cannabis from Quebec's liquor and cannabis stores and get it delivered right to their doorstep.
Plus, this means you can avoid the long lines, going outside in the cold weather and being surrounded by crowds of people.
It seems money motivates. On the day that the premier announced an anti-vax tax, Quebec saw a spike in first vaccine dose appointments, according to Health Minister Christian Dubé.
In a Wednesday morning tweet, the minister said 5,000 people made appointments on January 10 and 7,000 made appointments on January 11, the day of the announcement — "the highest number in several days," he noted.
Dubé called the figures "encouraging."
Vaccination :\nLes prises de rdv pour la 1\u00e8re dose continuent d\u2019augmenter. Environ 5K rdv ont \u00e9t\u00e9 pris le 10 janvier et 7K hier, notre record depuis plusieurs jours. Les rdv ont \u00e9t\u00e9 pris dans toutes les tranches d\u2019\u00e2ges. \n107K doses administr\u00e9es hier \n\nC\u2019est encourageant!
— Christian Dub\u00e9 (@Christian Dub\u00e9)
The upcoming fee for Quebec adults who refuse to get a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be an additional "health contribution" to compensate for the disproportionate burden the unvaccinated are placing on the health care system, Premier François Legault said Tuesday.
He noted that while only 10% of the adult population is unvaccinated, people without a vaccine dose occupy 50% of intensive care unit beds.
"All adults in Quebec who don’t accept to go get at least a first dose in the upcoming weeks will have a bill to pay because there are consequences on our health network," the premier said. He assured that people who can't receive a vaccine for medical reasons will be exempt.
Legault said the tax would be "significant" but didn't clarify how much exactly. He also did not say when the "bill" would go out.
The anti-vax tax is just the latest measure the Quebec government is imposing on the unvaccinated. On January 18, the provincial liquor and cannabis stores, the SAQ and SQDC, will require the vaccine passport. Dubé warned other businesses will require customers to have the health pass in the coming months, too.
"In just a few days, the appointments for the 1st dose went from 1.5K per day to over 6K yesterday," Dubé tweeted on Friday. "Thank you to everyone who decided to get vaccinated. It is not too late to receive your 1st dose. Protect yourself."
En quelques jours seulement, les prises de rendez-vous pour la 1\u00e8re dose sont pass\u00e9es de 1,5K par jour \u00e0 plus de 6K hier. Merci \u00e0 tous ceux qui ont d\u00e9cid\u00e9 de se faire vacciner. Il n\u2019est pas trop tard pour recevoir sa 1\u00e8re dose. Prot\u00e9gez-vous.https://www.lapresse.ca/covid-19/2022-01-07/premiere-dose-de-vaccin/je-n-ai-plus-le-choix.php\u00a0\u2026
— Christian Dub\u00e9 (@Christian Dub\u00e9)
Dubé did not explicitly note the connection between the increase in appointments and the impending vaccine passport requirement at the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) and Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC). However, the quadruple increase he pointed out would have occurred on the same day as the announcement.
Upon making the announcement, Dubé had said, "I hope this will be an additional incentive for some to go get their first dose."
On January 7, Quebec reported 16,176 new cases of COVID-19, which officials have warned is an undercount. There were officially over 2,000 people in hospital due to the virus — the highest number of hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic.
Eighty-four percent of the population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to government data.
As SAQ and SQDC employees brace themselves for the vaccine passport rule taking effect on January 18, their unions are raising concerns about "security and staffing issues."
"For us, given that this new measure may cause frustration or even lead to aggressive behaviour among some customers, we must ensure that operations take place in a calm manner and to do this, we ask that there be security guards in all branches as of January 18," Lisa Courtemanche, president of the SEMB-SAQ-CSN, said in a statement.
"We hope that the employer will also be able to provide the tools necessary for the validation of vaccine passports while adding the personnel required to ensure the application of this new measure," she added.
While both unions say their members welcome the extension of the vaccine passport measure to their stores, the SQDC union also says a lack of security staff could lead to crowds.
"Although there are already security guards at the entrance to branches, this does not prevent the risk of overflow in the days following the entry into force of the measure, hence the importance of have a sufficient number of staff and the necessary equipment to ensure the smooth and safe implementation of this new measure," Steve Bédard, president of the SEE-SQDC-CSN, said.
On January 6, Health Minister Christian Dubé announced that the vaccine passport would be required to access the provincial liquor and cannabis stores. The government previously deemed both to be essential services.