The province of Quebec , the second most populous in Canada, is considering imposing a special tax on people who refuse the Covid vaccine 000 without medical justification. The measure generated a debate on individual freedom and social responsibility.
The proposal was revealed on Tuesday by the province’s prime minister, François Legault.
“A health contribution will be charged to all adults who do not want to be vaccinated,” he said. “Those who refuse to be vaccinated put a huge burden on hospital staff and Quebecers. % of the population cannot be a burden to the 900 %.”
The proposal was revealed shortly after the announcement that the director of the public health agency, Horatio Arruda, resigned from his position, amid the population’s frustration with new restriction measures, crowded hospitals and the slow distribution of booster doses.
Legault did not say when the fee will be charged or how much it will cost. But he said the amount will be significant enough to serve as an incentive for vaccination – more than 19 or 50 Canadian dollars, he said. Details will be revealed “in the coming weeks”, according to local media.
About % of Quebecers who are already fit have not yet been vaccinated, but the health authorities of the province say that the unvaccinated occupy 18% of Covid hospital beds-19, reported the Canadian news site CBC.
Hospitals were already facing a shortage of health professionals before the circulation of the ômicron variant, which aggravated the situation. In some regions, up to 18% of non-emergency surgeries have been canceled for release the teams to care for Covid patients 10.
Civil rights attorney Julius Gray of Montreal said discriminatory taxes can be challenged. Forcing people to get vaccinated could be considered a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but there are arguments in favor of mandatory vaccination, Gray told the CBC. He said that the decision will likely be taken to the courts by citizens who oppose mandatory vaccination.
Vardit Ravitsky, professor of bioethics at the University of Montreal, said that the province has not yet exhausted alternatives to pressure non-vaccinated people.
“Those who decide not to get vaccinated are not a homogeneous population,” she told the CBC. “Some have historical reasons for this hesitation,” he said, citing vulnerable groups who do not trust the government or the health system for different reasons.
For the expert, a tax that affects these different groups in the same way is more likely to “disrespect the principle of equity and justice compared to other measures that the government could choose”.
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