Alberta-based legal centre to challenge Quebec vaccination tax in court
MONTREAL -- A Calgary-based constitutional freedom organization said this week that it will challenge Quebec's proposed vaccine tax in court.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) said in a news release that the yet to be ironed out tax would violate the right to bodily autonomy in the Canadian Chart of Rights and Freedoms.
“The announcement of a tax on those who decline the COVID injections, like the ‘vaccine passport,’ is discrimination and wrong," said the centre's president John Carpay. “The proposed Quebec ‘health tax’ is an egregious violation of the Charter rights of Quebecers and an affront to equality which Canada was, in times past, known for.”
The JCCF is a law firm and charity that argues constitutional and human rights cases in court. The organization has represented doctors in Alberta requesting to be exempt from vaccine policy, and fought against a New Brunswick grocery store's ban on unvaccinated customers.
Carpay argues that there is no medical or scientific justification for a vaccine tax, and that it would be a financial persecution and discriminatory to unvaccinated Quebecers.
“This is a blatant attack on a minority of society," he said. "Historically, persecution of a minority through taxation has paved the way for further and worse measures. We will fight this discriminatory and unscientific tax in court and defend the right to bodily autonomy of Quebecers and all Canadians. This injustice has no place in Canada.”
Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced that those who refused to get vaccinated would face a "substantial" bill on their taxes.
The announcement caused a political and legal stir immediately with other political parties calling it "radical."
Montreal-based human rights lawyer Julius Grey said that the law is a clear violation of the charter, but said a court challenge may be a "close call."
Legault's government has not announced any further details about how the vaccine tax would work, and said the bill would be tabled in February.
Opposition parties have called on the government to abandon the idea with Liberal leader Dominique Anglade saying the premier is going the "divide and divert" route with the plan.
"The problem is we don’t have any information, we don’t have any data. It raises a number of questions," she said.