The Canadian province of Quebec is considering a health tax on unvaccinated residents who do not have a medical exemption from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Quebec Premier François Legault, who announced the news at a press conference on Tuesday, said the fine could be “significant” but that specifics would be released later.
He added the fine was a question of fairness, given the unvaccinated make up 10 percent of the population but around half of those hospitalized with COVID-19.
“The majority are asking that there be consequences,” he said, according to The Associated Press, which translated his remarks from French. “It’s a question of fairness for the 90 percent of the population that have made some sacrifices. We owe them.”
Quebec’s latest data shows the province recorded more than 8,700 new cases in the past, along with 62 new deaths for a total of 12,028 during the pandemic.
According to Canada’s health department, Quebec is reporting the highest spike in confirmed cases among all provinces as the highly transmissible omicron variant spreads across the country.
Quebec already has a number of COVID-19–related restrictions, including the closure of bars and indoor events, as well as a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
In Greece, unvaccinated residents will begin to pay a monthly $113 fine next week, while Austria’s government plans to impose fines of up to $4,000, according to the AP.
While the Biden administration has not imposed individual fines in the U.S., it has mandated vaccination for employees of larger companies and federal contractors.
Quebec to fine unvaccinated residents | TheHill – The Hill