The provincial budget 2022-2023: between elections and economic recovery

It was on Tuesday, March 22, almost six months before the next provincial election, that the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, presented the next provincial budget which provides measures totaling more than $ 22 billion over the next 5 years.

A flagship measure of the budget is $ 3.2 billion to address the rising cost of living in the form of a $ 500 check for 6.4 million Quebecers with an annual income of less than $ 100,000 for current year.

The rest of the main measures are aimed at health, education and higher education, stimulating economic growth, the environment, community action and communities.

HEALTH

The budget provides for a health recovery plan of 5.2 billion announced in 5 years, of which 1 billion will be allocated to the “Health Plan” of Minister Christian Dubé. 904 million will be available for 2022-2023. As a result, health care spending will total $ 54.2 billion in 2022-2023.

In addition, Quebec is releasing $ 3.7 billion over five years, including $ 394 million for the period 2022-2023, to improve care and services for the population. Of this amount, 2.6 billion will be spent on caring for the elderly, especially in nursing homes. According to Fanny Lévesque of La Presse, in 2026-2027, Quebec will have to pay 500 million for the operation of these establishments.

REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

To support regional economic development, the government is providing about $ 1.25 billion. It will inject $ 439.9 million to contribute to the prosperity of the regions, $ 627 million to continue the growth of the bio-food sector, $ 163.2 million to promote the development of the forestry sector and the protection of wildlife capital .

In order to contribute to the prosperity of the regions, the government envisages, within the framework
from the 2022-2023 budget, $ 434.9 million over six years to support regional air transportation, invest in regional ground transportation infrastructure, and promote the economic vitality of the regions, including $ 234 million to promote the establishment of accessible regional services and $ 21 million to expand emergency assistance for regional air transportation. Quebec will inject $ 114.2 million to invest in regional ground transportation infrastructure projects.

In addition, the government is providing $ 65.7 million to promote the economic vitality of the regions. An amount to which is added $ 38.8 million to support MRCs in particular in their needs and strategic planning in terms of economic development.

It should also be noted that the Legault government has once again brought the completion of Highway 20 to the Quebec Infrastructure Plan, which is currently being studied.

TOURISM AND CULTURE

Damaged by two years of pandemic, the tourism and culture sectors will share just over half a million, or $ 508 million, for its recovery. Tourism will benefit from $ 250 million over 3 years in 3 areas of intervention. Quebec has allocated $ 113 million to promote Quebec’s tourist destinations, $ 108.4 million in direct assistance to tourism businesses to encourage recovery, and $ 28.6 million to promote business activities in Quebec. the outdoors.

Quebec also plans to raise $ 257.9 million to support the recovery and promote Quebec culture for 5 years and to offset the effects of COVID-19. Of this amount, $ 72.1 million will be used to expand certain measures implemented during the pandemic to, in particular, support the dissemination of Quebec shows and maintain audiovisual production capacity.

The government is providing $ 157.4 million for the cultural sector to provide additional specific support to the most affected cultural areas, encourage the public to choose Quebec culture, and make the tax credit for a first donation permanent. culture and enrich the training offered. by the Quebec Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Arts.

In addition, $ 15 million is earmarked to promote Quebec culture and pursue Télé-Québec’s digital change.

COMMUNITY AND COLLECTIVE ORGANIZATIONS

Minister Eric Girard’s budget envisions investments of $ 1.1 billion over 5 years to implement the new Government Action Plan for Community Action 2022-2027, which will increase financial support to community organizations.

More than $ 888 million will be used to improve and expand funding for some 5,000 community organizations. Of this amount, $ 182 million will go to organizations that contribute to the fight against sexual and domestic violence, such as shelters for women victims of violence.

The budget also provides $ 187 million for specific measures, including $ 65 million to facilitate the socio-professional integration of 16- to 35-year-olds by improving funding for youth employment centers.

In addition, $ 1.1 billion is projected to improve support for various communities, including $ 170 million to support equality between women and men and against sexual and domestic violence, in particular through the implementation of two government strategies, $ 109 million to improve assistance and services for families and youth, $ 285 million to continue supporting Aboriginal communities, and $ 386 million to maintain passenger transportation and community supply services.

Quebec grants $ 347 million for the construction of 1,000 new affordable housing units over the next five years confirms the completion of 3,500 new housing units already announced. Women victims of violence and the homeless will also be able to benefit from a “rental supplement”

The Legault government will also provide assistance to 2,200 distressed tenants, including women victims of violence and the homeless, through monthly “rental supplements”.

EDUCATION

The government wants to provide Quebec with a more modern, more efficient and more innovative education system. In this regard, the budget provides for investments of more than $ 2.8 billion over five years in education and higher education in order to support academic success and perseverance and improve access and graduation rates for education. superior.

Investments of $ 1.6 billion are planned to support academic success and perseverance, that is, $ 829 million to give each student the means to reach their full potential, $ 204 million to ensure attracting and retaining school staff, $ 267 million to improve the school building stock and $ 250 million to move Quebecers.

Investments of $ 1.2 billion over the next five years will also improve access to studies and lead to the success and graduation of more students. Quebec says it is convinced that these investments will have a positive impact on the labor shortage facing several priority sectors.

TREMBSL

While, on the whole, members of the executive committee of the Bas-Saint-Laurent Regional Municipal Electoral Board (TREMBSL) welcome the budget presented, they are disappointed by the government’s refusal to adequately support private forest producers. of Bas-Saint-Laurent. The latter, it is pointed out, cannot carry out the required forest management work, as the regional budgets are entirely dedicated to putting back into production the plots affected by the spruce.

“However, the eight MRCs of Bas-Saint-Laurent and 83 municipalities have adopted resolutions calling for the intervention of the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, in vain. We are also surprised to see no measures to finance municipal recreational and sports infrastructure, ”said Michel Lagacé, prefect of the MRC in Rivière-du-Loup and president of TREMBSL.

TOWARDS ELECTIONS

Finance Minister Eric Girard, Quebec, highlights a $ 500 immediate grant. A sum intended to “protect against inflation” is emphasized. This $ 500 refundable tax credit will apply to adults with incomes of $ 100,000 or less, or nearly 94% of the adult population in the province.

A measure described as opportunistic and electoralist by opposition parties. The minister is criticized for not targeting the most vulnerable who are severely affected by inflation. It is also a good idea for the ruling parties to open the financial gates as the elections approach.

Recall that the liberal government of Philippe Couillard faced the same criticism in 2018, when the elections were approaching. After a tenure marked by a policy of “austerity”, the latest Liberal budget had resulted in far more generous announcements than some had called electoral.

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