Joe Lofaro

January 11, 2021


Quebec Premier François Legault announced the province will apply a “significant” financial penalty for residents who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 for non-medical reasons.

The premier made the announcement Tuesday afternoon, describing the measure as a “health-care contribution,” though the exact amount has not yet been determined. The province is consulting with the Minister of Finance, but Legault said $50 or $100 “is not significant” enough for him.

The tax will apply to all adults in Quebec who refuse to get their first dose of the vaccine “in the next few weeks,” according to the premier. People who have medical exemptions to vaccination will not have to pay the tax.

The premier said the unvaccinated “will have a bill to pay because there are consequences on our health-care network and it’s not up to all Quebecers to pay for this.”

The new measure comes as Quebec continues to see hospitalizations rise from the coronavirus, with a net increase of 188 new hospitalizations in the past 24 hours. There are now 2,742 people in hospital. The province also recorded 62 new deaths due to the virus.

“We continue to see an increase in hospitalizations in Quebec,” Legault said. “Our biggest challenge right now is finding enough health workers. We estimate that in the next weeks we’ll need 1,000 additional workers for hospitals and 1,500 for CHSLDs.”

Legault also introduced the province’s interim director of public health Tuesday, one day after the province’s top doctor resigned amid public criticism of his work throughout the pandemic.

Dr. Horacio Arruda wrote in an open letter to Legault that he offered his resignation from the job he’s had for 12 years to give the premier an opportunity “to reassess the situation, after several waves [of the pandemic] and in a context in constant evolution.’

On Tuesday, Legault introduced Arruda’s successor, Dr. Luc Boileau, president of the l’Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux (INESSS).

c. CTV