2019 Budget Reactions

Mayor Demers pleased with CAQ government’s first budget

(TLN) Laval mayor Marc Demers says he is pleased with the Coalition Avenir Québec government’s first annual budget which was released last week by Finance Minister Éric Girard.

Demers said he was impressed by the $16.6 billion amount over 10 years that the government allotted to public transit.

Pleased with measures

“This measure squares perfectly with the vision at the Forum on Mobility and public transit to develop an integrated network of transport for Laval-Lower Laurentians with the goal of countering road congestion,” said Demers.

“Also, I am happy to see that several measures which emerged from the Forum can be seen in the Quebec Plan for Infrastructures,” he added.

More changing stations

The CAQ government’s extension of its ‘Roulez vert’ program, which facilitates the purchase of electric vehicles, as well as the acquisition of electrical charging stations, were both greeted eagerly by the mayor. The measures are added to similar ones announced in the federal budget recently.

Laval has a considerable number of households on its territory with low revenue, while also suffering from a deficit of social housing units to meet that need. As such, Demers said he also welcomed the government’s supplementary investment of $250 million. “With this amount, we hope to be in a position to support the realization of social, community and affordable housing projects on our territory,” he said.

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Integrating immigrants

Laval is the second-most important area in Quebec where new immigrants first arrive. In the context of a growing Laval economy, the mayor said the government’s announcement of $733 million to further integrate the new arrivals in the work force is encouraging.

“Laval is among the leaders in its making available cultural activities to children,” continued Demers. “As such, we can only rejoice at the investment of $135 million for cultural outings in school settings. What’s more, in a city that positions culture as an important vector of its development, the measure linked to creativity and cultural entrepreneurialism that was announced will allow to better support cultural artists and players from Laval.”

Budget reactions from Laval Chamber of Commerce and Industry

(TLN) The Laval Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued statements last week reacting to the new budgets issued by the federal and provincial governments.

Ottawa ignores deficit

Regarding the federal budget, the CCIL said it is concerned about Ottawa’s continuing practice of not dealing with the growing federal deficit. Among the federal government’s measures the CCIL felt were most important were those affecting the availability of labour and improvements for transportation.

“The Chamber feels that all initiatives helping business to face an urgent shortage of labour, as well as development of skills for workers and access to employment, must remain priorities for our government and put forward so that our businesses can answer adequately to the needs of the markets in an extremely competitive environment,” said CCIL president and executive-director Louise Leroux.

Sustainable measures

Regarding sustainable mobility, the CCIL said it recognized efforts in the budget to encourage businesses to use electric vehicles with zero or low emissions through subsidies. The CCIL was also impressed by federal measures to encourage low energy use in building and construction, as well as by the government’s encouragement of sustainable development practices within businesses.

While noting that Ottawa expressed its intention to invest substantially in the deployment of high-speed Internet everywhere in Quebec, the CCIL said that industrial parks should be a major focus of this. “The  automation and digitalization of businesses demands fast access to information and new technologies,” said Leroux, while adding that some businesses in Laval’s industrial parks don’t yet have access to high-speed Internet at a price that is competitive.

No plan for deficit

Regarding the federal deficit of $19.8 billion, the CCIL said it was concerned the government has no plan for eventually reducing the debt. “Given the favourable economic circumstances these past few years, we would have wished to see in this budget a more concrete plan to favour a return to budgetary equilibrium,” said Leroux.

Regarding the highly-publicized situation of regional print media in recent years, the CCIL said it was disappointed the federal government didn’t include measures to help regional media who have suffered from steep losses of advertising revenue.

Pleased with CAQ budget

Regarding the provincial budget, the CCIL said it was pleased by measures introduced by the new CAQ government that will help with a labour shortage being felt particularly by businesses located in Quebec’s outlying regions.

The Chamber said it was happy about provincial budget measures designed to help businesses retain employees older than 60 years who are experienced. Another measure that pleased the organization was integration of immigrants. As well, the Chamber said it was happy about investments being made by the CAQ government to strengthen the position of the French language in the sphere of business, manufacturing and services.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board Satisfied with the 2019-2020 Québec Budget   

The Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board (SWLSB) is pleased with the outcome of the 2019-2020 budget announced yesterday. Although it is too early to communicate specific details as to the outcome this budget will have on the SWLSB, the 5.1% increase announced for the education sector demonstrates that the government is making education a priority. The school board looks forward to seeing the new budget rules.

“I am pleased with the government’s budget and I am reassured that education remains at the forefront. I am confident that this new injection of funds will allow us to expand certain services and programs that will benefit our students.” stated Mr. Paolo Galati, SWLSB Chairperson. The school board is also pleased that this budget includes additional funding towards investment and maintenance of infrastructure, which is much needed. Another positive element is that funds will be dedicated to measures to support teachers and promote the teaching profession.

The Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board is the third largest English school board of the Province of Québec and boasts an 85,9% graduation rate. Its territory comprises the administrative regions of Laval, Lanaudière and the Laurentides. It provides preschool, elementary, secondary, adult education and vocational education services to over 14,000 students in 35 schools and 4 centres, as well as a business training division (Service aux entreprises). The school board has a workforce of nearly 2,000 employees.