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Canada: Quebec postpones Covid-19 vaccine mandates

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 14th October, 2021 09:00:42 PM
  • Print news
Canada: Quebec postpones Covid-19 vaccine mandates

 

Quebec, the first province in Canada scheduled to enforce a Covid-19 vaccine mandate from Friday, has postponed its enforcement by a month due to concerns that it may trigger a healthcare crisis caused by depleted staffing.

Quebec’s decision to pause the move came as public sector unions continue to oppose mandatory Covid-19 vaccine requirements for central and provincial government employees.

The prospect of depleted staffing amid a fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic eventually compelled Quebec to postpone the mandate deadline to November 15.

The “risk” to the healthcare system in Quebec is considered to be “too high” if the mid-October vaccine mandate sparks a crisis, fears provincial health minister Christian Dubé.

While over 90% of healthcare workers in Quebec are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, around 22,000 who have taken only one dose or none are liable for suspension under new vaccine mandates.

Unions representing healthcare workers have been opposing the measure, as has been the case at the federal level, where the deadline for enforcement is on October 30, reports Hindustan Times.

The federal vaccine mandates, championed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are piecemeal and do not cover all employees such as the Canadian Armed Forces, which is exempted from compulsory jabs against Covid-19. However, a face-off is still looming as the date of enforcement nears.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), which represents 215,000 central government employees, has contested the expected implementation and said it will “continue to represent unvaccinated members who have punitive action taken against them as a result of their vaccination status”.