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Quebec anticorruption squad kept busy this year investigating fake vaccine passports

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A new report from Quebec’s anti-corruption 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 today, 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 officeholders.

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 long list of businesses and venues the government deemed non-essential, including entertainment and performance centres, gyms, bars, places of worship and restaurants.

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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 20, 2022.

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