A new report from Quebec’s anticorruption unit says its officers were kept busy this year chasing down hundreds of reports related to the production and use of fake COVID-19 vaccine passports.
Frédérick Gaudreau, the head of the police force known as UPAC, released his annual report Tuesday, covering a 12-month period ending March 31, 2022.
The police force says that about 300 of the 795 calls it received in its last fiscal year were related to counterfeit proof-of-vaccination documents, adding that many of those who allegedly produced false papers were public servants or office holders.
Quebec’s vaccine passport system was in place between September 2021 and mid-March of this year.
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It required Quebecers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to access a lengthy list of businesses and venues the government deemed non-essential, including entertainment and performance centres, gyms, bars, places of worship and restaurants.
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UPAC says there are 41 active investigations into false documents, adding that three people have been criminally charged.
Gaudreau says producing false vaccine passports is a serious offence. People who work for the legislature or in the civil service are “people who society, the population has confidence in,” he told a news conference in Quebec City.
“We expect high standards of integrity; so, it’s our mission to prevent that.”
The problem of people using false documents to claim they’re vaccinated when they aren’t presents “an important public health issue,” he said.
Overall, UPAC had a busy fiscal year, with a 139 per cent rise compared with the previous fiscal year in the number of complaints or calls, he said.
© 2022 The Canadian Press
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