Finance & Taxation | Quebec

Quebec Budget 2019-2020: Many of our requests have been heard

On Thursday March 21, Retail Council of Canada witnessed the tabling of the Legault government’s first budget. We were pleased to note that many of our requests have been heard, particularly with respect to labour shortages, the environment and agriculture.

Background

The major financial provisions of the Legault government’s first budget cover a lot of ground in terms of government expenditures. More generally, the new government investments total $ 16.2 billion over 5 years. These new expenditures are partly based on previously announced surplus and optimistic but still conservative growth forecasts.

The government has decided to respect its campaign promises and to direct its budget guidelines to its electoral program. Three sectors of focus of the budget measures particularly affect our members: labour, environment and agriculture.

Labour

For several years now, Quebec employers have agreed to ask for a payroll tax relief. Significantly, the Legault government opened the door by promising a five-year payroll tax relief of $ 338 million for SMEs employing workers aged 60 and over. It is unfortunate that this measure does not apply to large retailers in Quebec. We will point out to the government that while SMEs offer many jobs to retirees, the real job opportunities are among our members.

The other measure announces the broadening of the tax credit for career extension for workers aged 60 and over. This measure represents $ 533 million over 5 years. It is clear that this measure will have the effect of encouraging people aged 60 and over to return to rejoin the labour force. However, we will have to wait for retirees’ taxation to be reviewed to eliminate this barrier to work for these people: under the current tax system, a retiree is heavily penalized if he receives pension benefits while working.

With this in mind, RCC has reached out to the Quebec government to work together in order to put pressure on the federal government regarding the pension plans taxation issue.

A few numbers

$ 1.7 billion over five years to increase workforce participation (p. 85)

  • Encourage workers to extend their careers – $ 892 million
    • Including $ 20 million to “top-up” public employment service programs to better support experienced workers
  • Better integrate immigrants to support economic growth – $ 730 million
  • Implement the National Strategy for Labour Market Integration and Maintenance of Handicapped Persons – $ 64 million
  • Meet the specific labour market needs – $ 61 million

Environment

In the context of the recycling crisis in some regions, the government has decided to invest $ 20 million over five years for the modernization of recycling centres. It is clear that this falls short of Éco Entreprise Québec’s requests, but it is a step in the right direction that pushes back a little the spectre of expansion deposit.

An additional $ 20 million was allocated to stimulate innovation in recycling and to promote the emergence of new opportunities for recycling centre outputs.

Overall, this is a positive step forward and we will be putting a lot of effort into working with the government to make sure that these measures will definitely discard the deposit expansion idea.

A discreet but important measure, the government will invest $ 1.2 million over two years to develop a refrigerant recovery system for household electrical appliances. 

A few numbers

$ 24.2 million over 3 years for measures aimed at increasing the value of organic matter and reducing halocarbons (p. 193)

  • Improvement and continuation of the domestic and community composting assistance program to encourage composting in municipalities and communities – $ 5M / 3 years
  • Halocarbon (refrigerants) regulations and responsible recovery of old refrigerators and freezers – $ 1.2M / 2 years
  • Support for bioenergy demonstration projects to promote biomass from the industrial, agricultural and urban sectors – $ 18M / 3 years

$ 60M over 5 years to support the reduction and responsible management of residual materials (p. 202)

  • Modernize recycling centres for recyclable materials – $ 20M
  • Ensure the development of technological innovations and the creation of opportunities – $ 20M
  • Empower plastic manufacturers – $ 7M
  • Encourage more environmentally friendly behaviours – $ 7.5M / 4 years
  • Reduce the use of single-use products – $ 5.5M / 4 years

$ 20M over 5 years to expand the application of extended producer responsibility and encourage ecocentres to offer more recovery options (household electrical appliances, propane tanks, agricultural plastics and some building materials).

Agriculture

It is simply a matter to underline the fact that the new government has decided to continue financing the 2018-2025 bio-food policy planned by the former government, which is around $ 285M for a period of five years.

$ 285M over 5 years to support the bio-food sector development (p. 131), including:

  • Increase investment in the agriculture and agri-food industry to increase the productivity of agriculture and agri-food businesses – $ 250M
  • Implementation of initiatives to promote local purchase – $ 10M
  • Meet the needs of food inspection and animal welfare – $ 10M

Please see our press release. (in French)

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact:

Marc Fortin, President, RCC Quebec, mfortin@cccd-rcc.org, 514-833-5973

Jean-François Belleau, Director, Government Relations, jfbelleau@cccd-rcc.org, 514-210-1709;

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