September 7, 2021 – Provincial government update on COVID-19 pandemic
Here is a further update on recent decisions and actions by the Québec government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccination mandatory in the health sector
Québec Premier François Legault, Health and Social Services Minister Christian Dubé and National Director of Public Health Dr. Horacio Arruda announced that vaccination will be mandatory for healthcare workers as of October 15.
If they are not adequately vaccinated by this date, they will be suspended without pay.
This measure affects all healthcare workers, in both the public and private sectors, regardless of whether or not they are in contact with patients.
In addition, people visiting a patient in hospital and family caregivers will be required to show their vaccine passport in order to access healthcare facilities effective the same date.
“We will not allow the unvaccinated to prevent those who are vaccinated from enjoying a certain normality,” Mr. Dubé said.
The Minister of Health added that 30 to 40 healthcare workers are testing positive for COVID-19 every day.
Employers “have the right” to demand vaccination
Mr. Legault said vaccination can be imposed in private-sector workplaces.
“I want to be clear: employers have the right to require that their employees be vaccinated,” Mr. Legault said.
Labour Minister Jean Boulet said mandatory vaccination should be a last resort; only if the level of risk is high enough to justify it.
Ideally, the unvaccinated employee should be reassigned to another work environment.
Hospitalizations on the rise
Mr. Legault said that 13% of Quebecers aged 12 and over have not received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s hundreds of thousands of people. We can’t afford to have these thousands of people in our hospitals,” said the Premier.
Québec is also seeing an increase in hospitalizations. A month ago, 55 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, while today there are 171. This represents a five-fold increase in hospitalizations.
The Premier noted that an adequately vaccinated person is 30 times less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than someone who is not vaccinated.
It should be noted that 87% of Québecers aged 12 and over have received a first dose of the vaccine and 80% are fully vaccinated.