COVID-19 in Quebec: $5 million to maintain the vaccine passport
Although it has not been imposed in Quebec businesses for a year, maintaining the vaccination passport for travelers will cost $5.2 million this year. And the bill, paid by Ottawa, could be repeated until 2025.
Quebec awarded a new contract last November, by mutual agreement, to the firm Akinox Solutions for the extension of the vaccine passport.
The $5.2 million provided for in this 12-month agreement will be used for “the use of licenses, support and data hosting”, specifies the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS).
Another amount of $ 4.5 million provided for in the contract will be disbursed if “evolution work on request” is necessary, writes the ministry.
It is that, even if the proof of vaccination is no longer required in stores since March 2022 (June for air and rail transport), the Quebec State must keep the system in place.
Due to an agreement with the federal, Quebec must maintain the vaccine passport “as long as other provincial or territorial governments in Canada or internationally require it”.
This period could stretch until 2025, specifies the MSSS.
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The bill is climbing
With the $9.1 million spent to create it, the bill for the vaccine passport now amounts to a minimum of $14.3 million. If we add the development costs provided for in the contract and the other two years of maintenance in service, the total cost could exceed $29 million.
However, even if the provinces are responsible for the vaccine passport, Ottawa reimburses the bill under the Canada-Quebec Agreement on the COVID-19 Vaccination Proof Fund.
This important contract extension was granted to Akinox Solutions without a call for tenders, under the law on the end of the health emergency which allowed to pursue certain over-the-counter agreements.
The Lévis firm was also awarded another major contract of $16.6 million, without competition, to set up the Guichet front-line access.
Quebec explains that it had to do so because the new portal intended for orphan patients is based on three technological solutions developed by Akinox Solutions and which are already place, namely Virtual Care Platform, Act Early and Public Health Trajectory.
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