Last Thursday, Quebec’s Finance Minister Eric Girard tabled the government’s last Economic Update before the October 2022 election. The event did not come with many surprises and helps set the table for the more pre-electoral March 2022 budget.
Titled “Québec looks toward the future”, and dubbed a “mini-budget” by many, it provides for $10.7B in new spending ($13B total since the March 2021 Budget) over the next five years. It tackles some of the CAQ electoral promises and urgent priorities, such as giving money back to families, and helping low-income workers ($2.1B), combating the labour shortage, stimulating economic growth ($3.4B), and strengthening the health care system ($4.4B).
It also forecasts a $6.8B deficit for the fiscal year 2021-2022 (down from the previous estimate at $12.2B) and important economic growth in 2021 (estimated real GDP growth at 6.5%).
Although measures are planned to counter the labour shortage, they are limited to the following sectors: health and social services, education, childcare, engineering, IT and construction. Lastly, the government plans to invest $160MM to support business projects aimed at:
- increasing the productivity, competitiveness and expansion of Québec businesses;
- accelerating business digitization and automation;
- reducing the environmental footprint of businesses.