Quebec Announces Plan to End COVID-19 Vaccine Passport System

Quebec Announces Plan to End COVID-19 Vaccine Passport System
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube, confirms a relaxation of rules on proof of vaccination during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, on Feb. 15, 2022 at the legislature in Quebec City. (The Canadian Press/Jacques Boissinot)
Andrew Chen

The Quebec government says it will phase out its proof of COVID-19 vaccination system by March 14.

Quebec’s Health Minister Christian Dube announced the province’s phased approach to lifting the system at a press conference on Feb. 15, while saying it may reverse course if the COVID-19 situation in the province worsens.

Starting Feb. 16, people will no longer required to show proof of vaccination to access big-box stores or government-run liquor stores.

On Feb. 21, the passport will not be required at places of worship or funeral homes.

For everywhere else, including elder care settings, restaurants, bars, gyms, and entertainment venues, the passport system will end on March 14, when most COVID-19 restrictions are scheduled to expire.

Quebec’s announcement comes a day after Ontario said it will be ending its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination program on March 1.
Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba also recently announced that they are lifting their proof of COVID-19 vaccination programs.
The Quebec government had previously said it intends to impose a tax on those who are unvaccinated, but dropped the plan on Feb. 1. Premier Francois Legault said the plan divided Quebecers.

At the Feb. 15 press conference, Dube denied that the lifting of the restrictions and the vaccine mandate was due to pressure from the ongoing protests against governments’ COVID-19 mandates.

“I think we’re doing it because it’s the right time to do it, because it’s safe for public health,” he said.

The protests were started by truck drivers opposed to the federal government’s requirement that all drivers crossing the U.S.–Canada border need to have COVID-19 vaccination. As large convoys of trucks drove to the capital to protest the measure starting on Jan. 29, more supporters joined in, opposing all COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. Many protesters say they will remain in the nation’s capital until the mandates are lifted.

Large-scale protests against COVID-19 mandates have since been held in different parts of Canada, including in Quebec City.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Feb. 14 invoked the Emergencies Act to deal with the protests.

The federal government is still maintaining its vaccine mandates, which includes requiring air and train passengers to have COVID-19 vaccination.

Alberta ended its vaccine mandate at midnight on Feb. 8. Most other health restrictions in the province, including masking, will be lifted on March 1.

Saskatchewan’s government said it is lifting its mandatory vaccination program on Feb. 14, and will end its requirement for masks in indoor settings by March.

Manitoba is planning to end all its COVID-19 orders, including proof of vaccination requirements and mask mandate, by March 15.

The Canadian Press contributed to this article