“We have to admit that, despite commendable efforts many stakeholders have made to boost the prosperity of Quebec and Canada, the results simply aren’t there,” stated Yves-Thomas Dorval, the Council’s President and CEO. “In Quebec and in the rest of Canada, we need to work harder to make economic development an absolute priority, so we can entertain the hope of maintaining and improving our quality of life and standard of living. Clearly, in the Canadian election context, the various political parties have to state their proposals in this regard.”
Quebec is ready for a mass movement to promote greater prosperity
“Overall, based on all of the indicators analyzed, we note the province of Quebec systematically received a grade of “C” from 2010 to 2015, and that is a worrisome stagnation,” remarked Norma Kozhaya, the Vice-President of Research and Chief Economist of the Employers Council. “This grade accounts for the fact Quebec ranks in the third quartile (23rd out of 38 countries and provinces considered) in terms of GDP per capita, with $36,168, which is below the OECD average of $39,000 and far behind the Canadian average of $44,000.”
Among the 21 indicators measured, and compared to the other most populated provinces in Canada (Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia) and the OECD countries, we note that Quebec performs quite well in terms of the percentage of the population who had reached the tertiary level of education; the province also obtains good results with regards to the marginal effective tax rates on business investment; the average age of investments in public infrastructures; research and development spending; and the cost of operating a business.
On the other hand, Quebec does not perform as well as other jurisdictions for the percentage of young adults that do not have a high school diploma and are not attending school (school dropout); employers’ cost of payroll taxes; the overall tax burden; entrepreneurial intensity; ICT investments (information and communication technologies); regulation (labour relations and administrative burden); and economic integration of immigrants (last among the major provinces).
Sensitizing the population to Quebec’s economic challenges starts with a better understanding of basic economic concepts
Prosperity is particularly based on quality education and a knowledge of fundamental economics. For the Employers Council, the comparative results in its report card underscore the importance of a mass mobilization to foster greater prosperity in the province of Quebec.
“For the past several months, the business community has been banding together within the PROSPERITE.QUEBEC campaign to initiate an open social dialogue with the population and to encourage a better understanding of the issues and the contribution made by entrepreneurs and companies to Quebecers’ quality of life and standard of living,” said Mr. Dorval. “Meanwhile, we need to put a special emphasis on education, on fighting the school-dropout issue and on developing basic economic teaching in our schools.”
To meet the challenges arising in the future, we collectively have to make sure our young people have access to a quality education and a basic knowledge of economics and personal finance management. The Employers Council believes that reintegrating such classes to the school curriculum is one of the key elements that would help Quebec society be better equipped to incite it to seek greater prosperity.
Canada faces many challenges
Among the indicators measured, Canada performs relatively well in the categories of the percentage of the population who had reached the tertiary level of education (1st among 31 countries); cost of operating a business (2nd out of 10 countries), and patents (3rd out of 11 countries). But it does not perform as well in the categories of productivity (11th out of 19 countries), adult numeracy competencies, R&D spending (16th among 29 countries) and marginal effective tax rates on business investment (21st out of 34 countries), despite a lowering of the statutory corporate tax rate.
“While the Employers Council is pleased to see that fundamental economic issues have started to get more attention in the recent election campaign debates, Quebec employers are still particularly concerned about improving their competitiveness, which is tied to the elimination of export tariff barriers, investing in productivity, technology and training, as well as a competitive tax system,” said Mr. Dorval.
The Employers Council’s 2015 Report Cards on Quebec and Canadian Prosperity can be found on our web site (Please click on English in the right hand corner).
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The Quebec Employers Council brings together many of Québec’s largest companies and the vast majority of sector-based employers’ groups, making it Québec’s sole employers’ confederation. Directly and indirectly it represents more than 75,000 employers of all sizes, in both the private and public sectors, which have operations in the province of Québec.
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