After admitting that the province’s healthcare system couldn’t handle losing thousands of healthcare workers, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé revised the provincial mandatory vaccine policy so that it only applies to new hires.
Dubé made the announcement during a press conference on Wednesday.
“To deprive ourselves of 8,000 people [in healthcare] will have devastating consequences for our network,” Dubé said.
“For many Quebecers, myself included, this remains incomprehensible that health workers won’t get vaccinated. “I think some people will be disappointed by the decision. I want to remind all Quebecers that they’ve gotten vaccinated in very big numbers… that meant we could make this decision today.”
Instead of forcing vaccinations on those who are unwilling, Quebec will now allow the unvaccinated to be regularly tested for COVID-19 three times a week.
Currently, Quebec is reporting that 97% of all healthcare workers are vaccinated against COVID-19. According to Dubé, some healthcare workers dealing with high-risk patients in areas such as nursing homes will be reassigned to a different job.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the Ontario government announced that the province will not implement mandatory vaccination policy for healthcare workers. The province pointed to the negative impacts of the policy on healthcare systems in Quebec and British Columbia.
Recently, BC Health Minister Adrian Dix revealed that the province had to cancel and delay some surgeries after 3,325 unvaccinated healthcare workers were put on unpaid leave by the provincial government.
A True North estimate from October based on media reports found that approximately over 26,000 healthcare workers faced discipline or firing at the time for being unvaccinated across Canada.