March 25, 2021
Quebec budget 2021-2022 boosts infrastructure investments & accelerates spending timeline
Québec is predicting it will return to its pre-pandemic level of economic activity by the end of 2021, however returning to balanced budgets will take an estimated seven years, said Finance Minister Eric Girard as he tabled the province’s 2021-2022 budget today.
The budget takes a three-pronged approach, prioritizing efforts on health care and social services, education and the economy. There are no tax increases or cuts in funding for public services, he said.
COVID-19 support and recovery measures total $4.3 billion in 2021-2022. All Québecers who wish to be vaccinated should have received at least a first dose by June 24, the government said.
"With this budget, the government is sending a message of hope to all Québecers,” said Girard. “We are overcoming a crisis like no other we have ever experienced. We can now resume a demanding and stimulating trajectory that will enable Québec to embark on a new stage of its development.”
The budget estimates revenues of $122.6 billion, portfolio spending of $116.9 billion and a deficit of $12.3 billion in 2021-2022. The recovery has started, the document stated, with economic activity expected to grow by 4.2 per cent this year and four per cent in 2022. Québec should return to full employment in two years.
To help jump-start its economic recovery, Québec is boosting investments in its 10-year infrastructure by $4.5 billion for a total of $135 billon. In addition, implementation of the plan is accelerating, with almost 60 per cent of investments set to be made by 2025-2026.
The construction market is one of Québec's largest sectors. In 2019, construction investments totalled $56.3 billion, or 12.2 per cent of GDP, and the sector employed 266 600 people, the budget noted.
The 10-year infrastructure plan allocates $21 billion to health and social services, $27 billion to education and higher education, $14 billion to public transit and $28 billion to road maintenance.
- An additional $3.1 billion will be used to add new seniors' homes to the existing network, and to expand and upgrade residential and long-term care centres and hospitals.
- An additional $2.6 billion will be invested to ensure the road network is maintained in good condition.
- $1.5 billion to improve mobility and electrify public transit, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change, including $453 million for the first phase of the 2030 Plan for a Green Economy.
- Additional investment of $1.8 billion for the renewal of schools and the addition of classrooms.
- For higher education, additional investments of $811.8 million will be used primarily for expanding and renovating CEGEPs and universities.
- $1.255 billion over two years to ensure high-speed internet is accessible to all Québecers by the end of 2022.
- Additional $100 million to support heritage buildings and cultural infrastructure. Several heritage buildings will be acquired, restored, developed and converted to be used for cultural uses.
Agri-food sector and regional infrastructure
- $92 million in modernizing regional infrastructure, particularly to improve the supply of natural gas and liquefied natural gas in the regions. Farmers will also have the option of replacing fossil fuels with electricity by extending the three-phase electricity system.
- $45.3 million in 2021-22 to support the construction and renovation of municipal buildings.
- An additional $408 million allocated between now and 2026 to improve affordable housing. Resources have been set aside to speed up the completion of 5,000 social housing units not yet delivered and the construction of 500 new housing units.
The full 2021-2022 Québec budget can be accessed here.