Victory for Charter rights and freedoms as Québec scraps punitive tax against vaccine-free

February 1, 2022

Despite having a double vaccination rate of 78.3% by February 2022, Québec implemented some of the strictest lockdown measures in North America. The province imposed a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., banning even the solitary act of dog-walking, and implemented “vaccine passports” for places of worship and for businesses deemed “non-essential” by politicians. The province also banned those who had not received a Covid-19 vaccine from entering liquor and cannabis stores. On January 11, 2022, Premier of Québec François Legault even proposed a tax on the unvaccinated. Premier Legault did not give details on when the tax would be implemented, but media reports suggested the tax would be as high as $800. Government estimates put the number of Québecers who have chosen not to receive the Covid shots at about 10 percent.

At the time, Justice Centre President John Carpay called the tax “an egregious violation of the Charter rights of Québecers and an affront to equality which Canada was, in times past, known for.” On January 13, 2022, the Justice Centre announced it would launch legal action against the province if the tax was imposed against Québecers who had not received the requisite number of Covid-19 injections.

On February 1, Premier Legault announced that the Québec Government would abandon the proposed task on unvaccinated persons.

Samuel Bachand of the Justice Centre remarked, “The Premier’s about-face suggests that the Covid-19 tax was nothing more than a propaganda tool directed against the new scapegoats of the State and of the mainstream media: those not taking the new Covid-19 vaccine. Canadians have a constitutional right to determine what medications they take, and this is especially so when the medications are recently developed and approved and for which there is no long-term safety data.”