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August 10, 2021 – Provincial and federal government updates on the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Québec and Canadian governments in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccine passport

Québec’s Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, announced today that the government will implement the vaccine passport province-wide beginning September 1 in bars, restaurants and fitness centres (gyms), as well as at festivals and high-capacity indoor spaces. For the time being, it will not be compulsory in retail stores. A full list of locations concerned will be unveiled the week of August 23.

“The conditions are there to deploy the vaccination passport,” the minister said. “The goal is for people who are properly vaccinated to be able to access high-attendance public events and activities where social contact is high, for non-essential activities.”

The provincial government will be holding weekly media briefings in the coming weeks.

Pilot projects

The vaccine passport will consist of a QR code available on a free application. Companies will also have to download a version of the app to read the QR codes on people’s phones. The name of the app and details of how it works will be revealed during the week of August 23. Printouts of QR codes will also be accepted.

The government will be testing the QR code app as part of pilot projects over the next two weeks.

Employees of establishments will not be required to have received two vaccine doses to come to work, in keeping with the principles of the Québec Labour Code.

One million people remain to be vaccinated

To date, 84% of Québecers aged 12 and older have received an initial dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 70% have had their second shot.

“We’ve vaccinated 6.3 million people with a first dose and 5.2 million with a second dose. So we still have to administer second doses to 1.1 million people by August 31, i.e., in the next 20 days,” Minister Dubé said.

In-person classroom education this fall

Danielle McCann, the Minister of Higher Education, has confirmed that Québec university and CEGEP students will return to in-person classes this fall.

Physical distancing and mask rules will no longer apply in classrooms, but the following restrictions will still apply in certain circumstances:

  • The two-metre distancing rule will apply in gyms, between tables in cafeterias and food courts, and during activities such as singing classes;
  • Ideally, one-metre distancing should be maintained between students in common spaces, when possible;
  • Masks will not be mandatory in libraries or when eating meals, but they will be in all other situations.

“Extracurricular activities, including sports, will be allowed in all establishments, but the government intends for such activities to be accessible only to fully vaccinated students,” Minister McCann noted.

Measures will be adapted depending on how the health situation evolves and vaccine coverage in individual establishments. All higher education establishments must prepare a fallback plan ready to be rolled out if need be.

Up to 82% of students in Québec are fully vaccinated or have made their appointment for a second dose.

Enough doses to fully vaccinate every eligible Canadian

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced recently that the country has enough vaccine supply for all eligible Canadians.

“Canada now has enough COVID-19 vaccines delivered to fully vaccinate everyone who’s eligible for a shot,” Trudeau said. “Of course, we’ll make sure that as more people become eligible there are doses available for them too,” he added.

To date, 81.1% of eligible Canadians have received a first vaccine dose and 68.2% are fully vaccinated.