Premier François Legault opening speech: How retail is impacted - Retail Council of Canada
Finance & Taxation | Quebec | Store Operations

Premier François Legault opening speech: How retail is impacted

December 5, 2022

Premier François Legault outlined his action plan for the next few years in his Opening Speech last week at the start of the new parliamentary session in Quebec City.

Labour Shortage

Labour shortages are now recognized as a problem (the use of the word “shortage” (pénurie in French) has come in addition to the more commonly used term “scarcity” (rareté in French) and is one of the priorities of the Prime Minister and his team. Mr. Legault calls the shortage “number one enemy”. It has formally made a commitment to reduce it, and several new solutions – long awaited – are now on its dashboard.

  • Immigration is finally understood as an answer, but with the following nuance: “It is not a solution, but a tool.” However, it will have to be francophone. To do this, he said he wanted to rely more on foreign students. RCC will work actively to ensure that Quebec does not miss out on the best foreign talent. 
  • Finally, Mr. Legault confirmed the use of measures that RCC has regularly requested to be adopted to facilitate the retention or return to work of experienced workers, including the removal of the obligation to contribute to the QPP for those aged 65 and over.
  • RCC will actively monitor Legault’s plan to “reskill the workforce,” which he says is a priority. This idea involves moving workers from one line of business to another, according to government priorities. The risk of this type of initiative is obvious since government professionals will never be able to replace your specialists in understanding the day-to-day prospects of the retail market.

Economic Development

In addition to fighting inflation, the government intends to promote the development of innovation zones, further prioritize local purchasing, improve productivity and – another great priority – reduce the wage gap between Ontario and Quebec.

  • However, Mr. Legault has been critical of “big companies” like Amazon, which he specifically named and whose presence worries him. RCC will have to ensure that all economic actors are recognized at their true value, regardless of their size.
  • Mr. Legault praised his team for providing high-speed cellular and Internet coverage throughout the province, “for the 1,100 municipalities in Quebec,” and said he wanted to protect businesses from cyberattacks.
  • Finally, Mr Legault stressed the great importance of sustainable agriculture and the bio-food sector, areas which he intends to strongly support.

Sustainable development

Mr. Legault reiterated the importance his government attaches to the fight against climate change. Among other things, he said he welcomed the implementation of the new expanded deposit system, which will include multi-layer cartons and wine bottles. We still have work to do to make it clear that regulatory delays remain a colossal problem, given the scale of the logistical operations to be carried out, and to ensure pan-Quebec coverage, and especially to ensure that Quebecers do not overpay for such a system. It should also be remembered that the creation of new truck transportation routes, which will number in the thousands, will add great pressure on environmental and financial costs.

For questions or more information contact

Apraham Niziblian
Director, Government Relations and Public Affairs (Quebec)

For questions or more information contact

Michel Rochette
President, CCCD – Québec