Friday, December 3

Quebec distributes cash for the cost of living to families and seniors

The government projects a smaller-than-expected deficit in its “mini budget” – $ 6.8 billion for this fiscal year instead of $ 12.3 billion.

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QUEBEC – Finance Minister Eric Girard presented his fall economic update on Thursday, revising his anticipated deficit forecast and distributing new money to parents with children in private, unsubsidized daycare and a $ 400 cost-of-living allowance for children. poorer Quebecers.

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Quebec is also improving its low-income senior assistance subsidy to a maximum of $ 400 per person starting this year. Almost 709,000 older people will benefit.

And despite the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Girard projects a return to balanced budgets for 2027-2028 because his budget situation is better than anticipated.

Instead of a deficit of $ 12.3 billion for this fiscal year, the number was revised to $ 6.8 billion.

In fact, the document reviews almost all of the projections Girard made in his March 2021 budget in which Quebec planned for the worst because he believed the effects of the pandemic would be long-lasting and cost the government a lot.

Instead of a 4.3 percent increase in economic growth for 2021, Girard’s new forecast is 6.5 percent, which is higher than the growth projection for Canada (five percent) and the United States. United (six percent).

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“The Quebec economy is currently experiencing an extraordinary recovery thanks to the mobilization of Quebecers and a successful vaccination campaign,” says Girard in his update.

“The substantial improvement of public finances allows us to help Quebecers face the cost of living and act to accelerate economic activity by combating labor shortages and stimulating business productivity.”

The economic update, which the government calls a mini budget, includes a variety of other boutique expenses:

There is $ 65 million in new money to implement Quebec’s strategy to combat gun violence, a move mentioned last week by the government in the wake of a series of shootings in Montreal. Quebec has already invested $ 84 million in Operation Centaure, which reinforces the work of local police forces.

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Quebec adds an additional $ 21 million to fight discrimination and racism and $ 232 million to prevent domestic violence and provide support to victims.

Under pressure from the business lobby, Girard also points to Quebec’s chronic labor shortage, announcing $ 2.9 billion in spending across various sectors to train and requalify 170,000 workers in five years. Girard says the measures are “bold and specific.”

More specifically, $ 1.7 billion will be invested in a new incentive scholarship program for students in specific occupations. Students may receive up to $ 9,000 at the college level, $ 15,000 at the college level for a three-year program, and $ 20,000 for a four-year training program.

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There are a number of high-spending items for families, starting with $ 1.1 billion for refundable tax credits for parents who send their children to private, unsubsidized daycare.

Officials explained that the goal is to gradually level the playing field between the private and public daycare system, where parents currently pay $ 8.50 per day. A parent can spend up to $ 40 a day on the private network.

The new system will represent savings of up to $ 1,310 for a family with incomes between $ 60,000 and $ 100,000.

Quebec also reaffirms its goal of creating a total of 37,000 public daycare centers over the next five years to keep up with growing demand.

To cope with the current inflation rate of four percent, Quebec is adding $ 1.1 billion over five years to offset the cost of living. Low-income couples will be eligible for a one-time payment of $ 400, while a single person will receive $ 275.

With Quebec entering an election year, the update also sets some politically attractive targets. The document says Quebec is giving itself 15 years to close the standard of living gap between Quebec and Ontario.

The gap is now 12.9 percent. Quebec wants to bring it back to 10 percent in 2026 and eliminate it entirely by 2036.

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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