People are reacting to the controversial idea of a new unvaccinated tax in Ontario
Quebec premier François Legault dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, confirming rumours that the province would be implementing a health tax for unvaccinated residents.
Legault revealed that unvaccinated Quebec residents could face stiff penalties, claiming fines would be issued for a "significant amount," though exact numbers haven't yet emerged.
The announcement has been making waves across the country, and it has people here in Ontario wondering — and openly debating — if such a policy could ever work in the country's most populous province.
It didn't take long for the idea to be put to bed, with Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore suggesting in a Wednesday press conference that such a policy would never be implemented here.
In Ontario, Dr. Kieran Moore says a tax on the unvaccinated would be "punitive" and is not something he has or would recommend to the Ford government to implement #cdnpolihttps://t.co/MztMudjpza pic.twitter.com/1MYa6mKB2g— Mackenzie Gray (@Gray_Mackenzie) January 12, 2022
Discussion persists, though, and The Toronto Star is polling the public on the issue, asking its readers, "should Ontario also implement a tax for unvaccinated people?"
As of the time of publication, the poll has an overwhelming majority (approaching 80 per cent of respondents) opposed to a tax in any form, though one commenter suggests that paywalled access might be influencing the results.
A similar CTV News poll accessible to all has about 70 per cent opposing a tax on the unvaccinated.
But even with Moore throwing cold water on the idea, a tax could still prove beneficial in Ontario's goal to get those last holdouts vaccinated.
The mere threat of the newly-announced Quebec tax is already showing results. Thousands in that province are lining up to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine over 22 months into the pandemic and 13 months since the first vaccinations began in Canada.
Wow! It’s like this kind of thing works to get folks vaccinated! You watching, Ontario? Thousands sign up for 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine as Quebec threatens to tax the unvaxxed | CTV News #cdnpoli #onpoli #covid19 https://t.co/Erwx9FbWrK— Jeffrey Luscombe (@JeffreyLuscombe) January 12, 2022
One resident in an area particularly hard-hit by COVID says they would welcome the tax. Others are arguing that Ontario already has a health tax, and that it wouldn't be such an outlandish idea to expand that tax for people who refuse vaccination and potentially add further strain to a burdened healthcare system.
The English commentariat has much to say re the ethics & constitutionality of #LegaultsAntivaxTax. Not just a threat.— David Paterson (@DavidPatersonca) January 12, 2022
Thoughts: #Ontario (other provs?) has a Health Surtax. #Covid is costing us. A means adjusted #CovidSurtax is not far fetched. Nor is a tax rebate on vax status.
But there is strong dissent as well.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is voicing opposition to Quebec's new tax, a spokesperson stating to CTV that the tax "will end up punishing and alienating those who may be most in need of public health supports and services."
Even Doug Ford's eldest daughter and frequent health policy critic Krista Haynes has chimed in on the prospect of an anti-vax tax, suggesting that the obese and smokers would be better candidates for a health tax, seemingly throwing shade at her own father's struggles with weight, made famous by the Ford brothers' famous "Cut the waist" challenge a decade earlier.
Ah. There’s finally convergence between the goals of Ontario’s premier @fordnation and his anti-vaxx daughter:— Caryma Sa'd - Lawyer + Political Commentator (@CarymaRules) January 12, 2022
“Allow for private healthcare solutions.”
Krista Haynes spent months slamming her dad’s pandemic response, only to have the same ultimate vision.#antivaxxers #Qrista pic.twitter.com/W4MGgdGCgD
In terms of smokers, severe taxes have already been imposed directly onto the price of tobacco products, meaning that consumers are effectively paying off any future burden they may place on the healthcare system.
Quite high.— Rob Bransfield ☮🇨🇦 (@BransfieldRob) January 12, 2022
In Ontario (For Smoking):
18.475¢ per cigarette
18.475¢ per gram or part gram of tobacco product other than cigarettes and cigars
56.6 per cent of the taxable price of a cigar.
So that tax already exists.
Though Dr. Moore has stated that Ontario isn't interested in pursuing such a measure, many are claiming that it isn't really his decision to make, and that this may not be the end of the debate.
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