2024-2025 Budget: few answers to the growing needs of the retail sector - Retail Council of Canada

2024-2025 Budget: few answers to the growing needs of the retail sector

March 13, 2024

Montreal, March 13 – In response to yesterday’s budget, the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) would have liked to see measures adapted to the reality experienced by the retail sector on a daily basis. The uncertain economic context in Quebec is affecting retailers, who are struggling with a growing labour shortage, as well as rising operating costs and theft from stores. Although the government plans to dedicate $15 million over three years to support the integration of emerging technologies, RCC would have liked to see improved tax measures in the budget to encourage workers aged 60 and over to remain in the labour market and additional resources for police forces to better prevent theft in businesses.

“The current economic context is already having a significant impact on the retail sector, which supports Quebecers in their daily needs, such as clothing, food, housing, etc. The issues related to the availability of labour have remained unresolved for several years, although concrete solutions exist to overcome them. RCC regrets that more initiatives have not been found to try to curb this chronic economic problem that deprives Quebec of revenue, and those available for employment, of income. We can no longer afford to lose mandates, investments or projects due to a lack of workers. The answer to this challenge lies in the use of innovation and artificial intelligence, which also does not receive a significant share of the 2024-2025 budget,” said Michel Rochette, President of RCC – Quebec.

Lack of incentives to keep experienced workers in the workforce

The 2024-2025 budget eliminates the business tax credit to foster the retention of experienced workers (CMETE) that the government introduced in 2019: a questionable decision given the ongoing labour shortage. This position is all the more surprising given that the Quebec government recently launched a pilot project with the Conseil du patronat du Québec to reintegrate people aged 60 to 69 into the labour market. This initiative, applauded by RCC, was a step in the right direction, but it is not supported by any real measures in the budget, such as tax incentives for workers over the age of 60.

Loss prevention hampered by lack of police resources

For several years now, the growing phenomenon of shoplifting has become an increasingly important part of the retail world, particularly in the field of loss prevention. RCC would have liked to see additional resources allocated to police forces to support retailers who are victims of a significant increase in shoplifting and criminal behaviour in their stores. While the RCC-led committee dedicated to these issues works in collaboration with police forces and resources on the ground, the main issue remains a question of resource allocation, which the 2024-2025 budget does not address.

Aid for innovation deemed insufficient

While the government recognizes the importance of supporting the integration of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, the funds allocated to this integration will be insufficient to meet the growing demand from RCC members, an organization that represents approximately 17,000 retailers in Quebec. The investment – $15 million over three years – will not be able to meet the needs of the retail sector, particularly in terms of supply chain optimization, automation and technology to improve the customer experience.

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About the Retail Council of Canada

Recognized as the Voice of Retailers in Quebec and Canada since 1963, the Retail Council of Canada is an industry-funded, not-for-profit association that represents small, medium and large retail businesses that are embedded in people’s daily lives. The organization’s members include the largest banners in Quebec and Canada; from department stores to food distribution, specialty stores, pharmacies, independent retail and online stores. RCC is a hub where unique expertise converges, developing guides, tools and certified training, in addition to being a true source of data and analysis. The retail sector employs more than half a million Quebecers and generates sales of nearly $110 billion (2022).


For more information, please contact:

Laurence Tôth

Director, Public Affairs

AUCOIN Stratégie & Communication

581 305-4501