The Canadian province of Quebec has announced that it will impose a new “health contribution” tax on people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We are working on a health contribution for all the adults who are refusing to get vaccinated” because they are a “financial burden for all Quebecois,” Quebec Premier Francois Legault said Tuesday, according to Agence France-Presse.
Only about 10 percent of the residents in Canada’s second-most populous province are unvaccinated, but they make up half of all people in intensive care, he said.
Just over 85 percent of the residents had received at least one dose by Jan. 1, according to federal data cited by the BBC.
Legault said Tuesday that the amount that will be collected has not yet been decided, but noted that it will be “significant.”
“I think right now it’s a question of fairness for the 90 percent of the population who made some sacrifices,” Legault said. “I think we owe them this kind of measure.”
He added: “I feel this discontent with regard to the unvaccinated minority which, all things considered, clogs our hospitals.”
In total, 2,742 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized and about 255 are in intensive care in Quebec, which has about 8 million residents, according to AFP.
Legault said people who have not gotten jabbed for medical reasons will be exempt from the tax.
On Dec. 30, Quebec announced the return of certain restrictions, including a 10 p.m. curfew and a ban on private gatherings.
Eric Duhaime, the head of Quebec’s Conservative opposition party, assailed the planned tax, saying it would only “divide” Quebecois.
Dominique Anglade, who heads Quebec’s Liberal party, called the tax a “distraction,” though she is in favor of mandatory vaccinations.