of Quebec The proposal to tax unvaccinated people may be legal, but may also go against the spirit of Canada’s universal public health system, according to legal and medical experts.
Prime Minister François Legault on Tuesday announced the new “contribution” for the unvaccinated, although his government did not specify how the tax would be levied, when and against whom.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has said it could violate basic rights of Canadians, while health advocates have expressed concern over its wider implications.
Danyaal Raza, a doctor at Unity Health in Toronto and former president of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, told Reuters:
I have never seen anything like it in Canada before. I am concerned about the precedent this would set.
Dr Yv Bonnier-Viger, director of public health for the Gaspé region, asked Quebec to “seriously consider” the repercussions of such a measure, affirming: “these are not measures that correspond to values of public health ”in an interview with the newspaper CTV of Montreal. .
I think we would completely forget about our system of universal health insurance and coverage. We know that about 40 percent of illnesses are preventable. If we start taxing all sick people for the bad decisions they made at some point in their lives, we are going to go off the rails.
Cara Zwibel, acting general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said, however, that it could violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms if seen as “a way to get people to get vaccinated”.
McGill University biomedical ethicist Phoebe Friesen was also concerned that the logic of taxing unvaccinated people could be extrapolated to other behaviors considered to generate health care costs like obesity, but which are linked to marginalization.
If you want to be consistent and logical, you should be billing all kinds of people for their hospitalization if it’s based on behavior for which they are ‘responsible’, she said, “… and it’s incredibly difficult to understand. what it looks like. Like.”
Quebec, the second most populous province in Canada, is grappling with an increase in hospitalizations linked to Covid. The province’s public health director resigned earlier this week, citing an “erosion” of public confidence in anti-pandemic measures.
Guardian reader and Montreal resident Chris Batory said the fact that more than 7,000 people were lining up to receive their first vaccine in Quebec on Wednesday shows the strategy has worked, “for a day anyway!” he added.
“Our highest for several days,” tweeted Quebec Minister of Health Christian Dubé, noting that 5,000 appointments had also been made on Monday. “It’s encouraging.”