The Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, takes stock of Quebec’s economic and financial situation.
He anticipates a deficit nearly half as large as expected for the current year.
In fact, the 2021-2022 fiscal year will end with a shortfall of some $ 6.9 billion and not $ 12.3 billion (- $ 5.4 billion) as he feared when the Budget was unveiled. Quebec 2021-2022 last March.
The Canadian government is not for nothing. In fact, Quebec expects to receive unplanned federal transfers last March totaling approximately $ 2.6 billion, including $ 1.1 billion from the one-time transfer to support the health system and vaccination and $ 660 million resulting from the agreement. asymmetric on childcare services.
On the other hand, the Quebec government will derive additional revenue of $ 5.94 billion, including $ 831 million from government enterprises.
Countering the rise in the cost of living
In total, the government plans to invest $ 2.1 billion over five years to counter the rise in the cost of living.
The inflation rate could reach 4% this year, according to the latest estimates from the Ministry of Finance.
An exceptional benefit will be put in place for low- and middle-income people who are eligible for the solidarity tax credit. As of January 24, 2022, a single person will receive an additional $ 275, an amount that could reach $ 400 for a couple. This measure will be limited to the year 2022 and should affect 3.3 million people.
The government will also double the amount for support for seniors aged 70 and over. It will drop from $ 209 to $ 400. In all, 709,000 seniors will benefit from this additional assistance planned for five years.
Additional assistance, retroactive to January 1, 2021, is in place for taxpayers whose children attend an unsubsidized childcare service. Its goal is to eliminate the gap with the daily fee for subsidized child care centers, which is $ 8.50.
For children under the age of seven, the tax credit currently in effect will be enhanced. The annual limit on eligible expenses will be reduced from $ 9,950 to $ 10,400.
The Ministry of Finance calculates that this amount corresponds to the total childcare costs on the basis of a daily rate of $ 40 full-time, or 260 days per year.
In the case of parents whose child is not in full-time child care, this new limit could cover a higher daily rate of up to $ 58.
For families with an annual income between $ 80,000 and $ 100,000, the Department of Finance estimates that this measure completely eliminates the gap between the price of non-subsidized child care and that of state-funded child care.
The cost of this measure is 225.6 million for the current fiscal year. It will be 215.2 million in 2022-2023. In total, 1.1 billion is expected by 2025-2026.
Still on the issue of accessibility to childcare services, $ 1.2 billion is earmarked over five years for the creation of the 37,000 subsidized spaces announced by the government.
Part of the $ 6 billion compensation announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be used to cover the creation of these new subsidized spaces as well as the increase in the tax credit for non-subsidized services. This sum will also finance the training of new educators, for a total of $ 212 million over five years.
The government plans to add $ 2.9 billion over five years to “train, re-qualify and attract workers in health, education, child care, engineering, information technology and construction.”
Of this sum, 1.7 billion is intended for a scholarship program for students enrolled in the sectors of activity sought. At the end of their training, students can receive up to $ 9,000 at college, $ 15,000 at university for a three-year program and 20,000 for a four-year program. A payment will be made at the end of each successful full-time session.
A sum of 444 million over five years could be used for business investment projects, innovation zones and the revival of the cultural and artistic sector.
4.4 billion more to strengthen the health system
The Minister of Finance plans additional investments of 4.4 billion over three years – 3.6 billion in 2021-2022, 614 million in 2022-2023, 184 million in 2023-2024 – to “strengthen the health system”.
The government plans to spend $ 804 million over two and a half years to shorten the waiting list for surgeries, which has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic. No less than 400 million will come from savings generated by the Institute for the relevance of medical acts (IPAM).
The Ministry of Health plans to perform some 125,000 additional elective surgeries by March 31, 2024.
He will call in reinforcement of private clinics to achieve this. Indeed, these will perform 14% of the total number of surgeries. “The gradual return of staff reassigned to treat patients with COVID-19 or to vaccinate the population will gradually resume the pace of surgical activities in health institutions”, can we read in the “minibudget” unveiled Thursday .
“Exceptional” economic growth
The Quebec government is anticipating “exceptional” economic growth of 6.5% this year, more than in Canada and the United States. However, the Quebec government is not anticipating the return to a balanced budget. It will return to zero deficit within six and a half years, ie March 31, 2028. The ratio of gross debt to gross domestic product (GDP) will stand at 44.3% —and not 49.2% – March 31, 2022, now forecasts Mr. Girard (+ 4.9 percentage points).