Quebec Premier François Legault has scrapped his proposed tax on the unvaccinated, sources tell CBC and Radio-Canada.
As first reported by La Presse, the premier is set to make the announcement at a press conference this afternoon, at 1 p.m.
The tax, which was announced in January by the premier, would have imposed a monetary penalty on Quebecers who did not get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Details of the tax had remained vague, with Legault saying it could be included in provincial tax filings. He had said he wanted the cost to be “significant,” suggesting it would be more than $100. Roughly 10 per cent of eligible Quebecers remain unvaccinated.
“These people, they put a very important burden on our health-care network,” Legault said at the time. “I think it’s reasonable a majority of the population is asking that there be consequences.”
The measure was announced immediately after Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province’s outgoing director of public health, handed in his letter of resignation.
Community advocates, bio-ethicists and other experts raised concerns about the proposal, saying that more education was needed, instead of punitive measures. Others questioned the legal ramifications, saying the proposed tax could run afoul of the Canada Health Act.