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Mandatory vaccinations for some Ontario university students: could it happen in Quebec?

Montreal -

As Ontario post-secondary schools announce mandatory vaccination rules for class attendance and residence, some east of the border may wonder: could that happen in Quebec?

First, some background: The University of Ottawa made headlines this week after updating their requirements for students looking to live on campus.

Under the school’s guidelines, students must be vaccinated to live in residence.

If a student doesn’t have a dose by the time they arrive, they’ll need to get one within two weeks of moving in, and then their second within the timeframe given by public health.

Other schools in Ontario have also added mandatory vaccination to their rule books, including Seneca College in Toronto, where inoculation will be mandatory for anyone “teaching, learning and working” on campus.

So, what about Quebec?

Health Minister Christian Dubé says it’s unlikely Quebec will enforce a mandatory vaccination directive on students.

“Our key principle is to roll out on a voluntary basis. It has worked so far, we will continue this way,” he said during a Friday press conference.

“The way we are progressing on being ready doesn’t justify going this way at this time.”

Without a provincial directive, vaccination rules are unlikely to appear in Quebec universities.

“Unless the Quebec government mandates vaccination, we cannot, at this time, legally require proof of vaccination from incoming residence students,” said Frédérique Mazerolle, a McGill University spokesperson.

“The university encourages people to follow the Quebec government’s vaccination directives.”

The school is still taking precaution with travelling students who aren’t fully vaccinated.

Rooms are available in the school’s Park St. residence location, where students can complete their two-week quarantine at $50 per night.

Meanwhile, Concordia’s dorms will only be filled to 50 per cent capacity and nobody will share a room.

What’s more, there will be no visitors allowed, and students will have to take training on COVID-19 precautions before they move in.

Whether mandatory vaccination rules exist in Quebec or Ontario, student advocates say they’ll affect international students more than anyone else.

“A lot of international students come from areas where doses aren’t available at the same rate as they are here,” said Eduardo Malorni, general co-ordinator with the Concordia Student Union.

“So, some of them may only have one shot, some of them may have zero shots.”

In Quebec, more than 82 per cent of those eligible have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 50 per cent have been fully vaccinated. Top Stories

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