Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is considering making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for government employees and those working in federally regulated industries.

“It’s time for people to get vaccinated,” Trudeau said during a press conference with Quebec Premier François Legault on Thursday.

“That’s why I’ve asked the clerk of the Privy Council, who is responsible for the federal public service, to look at mandatory vaccinations for federal employees.”

Trudeau also said mandatory vaccines could apply to federally regulated industries such as First Nations bands and services, airlines, banking and telecommunications.

This is the first time Trudeau has indicated support for a form of mandatory vaccination. While the majority of Canadians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, approximately 20% of Canadians remain unvaccinated.

According to an Innovative Research Group poll, 60% of unvaccinated black Canadians expressed vaccine hesitancy, compared with 55% of white Canadians and 44% of non-Black visible minorities.

At the same press conference, Legault also announced that his government would be implementing vaccine passports, claiming Quebec is on the cusp of a fourth wave requiring such a response. 

Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan have all rejected the idea of a vaccine passport, though Manitoba has adopted a similar program.

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