“Extensive research efforts have been conducted to understand the connection between standard of living (income or growth) and quality of life (happiness or satisfaction),” said Norma Kozhaya, the Council’s Vice President, Research, and Chief Economist. “It emerges that a certain level of wealth is needed for people’s happiness, but that alone isn’t enough. In fact, satisfaction stems more from income growth rates than from its absolute level.”
Despite the many outstanding assets the province has, Québec’s economic performance has lagged for several years compared to that of the rest of North America and a fair number of developed countries. Still, it seems that Quebecers are maintaining a level of satisfaction in terms of their quality of living, but this shouldn’t be taken for granted because a series of factors could lead to a medium-term regressing of Québec’s current standard of living and quality of life: changing demographics, loss of competiveness, precarious state of public finances, etc.
Drawbacks to overcome, challenges to meet…
“The joy of living largely stems from the feeling that things are improving and prosperity is growing,” remarked Employers Council President and CEO, Yves-Thomas Dorval. “Yet there is no certainty Quebecers will continue to display the same level of contentment with the life they’re leading should economic conditions stay the same or even deteriorate. Thus, to enhance their prosperity, Quebecers have some drawbacks to overcome, especially in the area of entrepreneurship, productivity and growth, notably at the international level.”
The shortage of Quebecers with a penchant for going into business and creating companies is one of the deficiencies that undermines efforts to attain a higher economic performance level.
Québec lags behind most of the developed countries in terms of productivity measured by production value per hour worked. In this regard, Quebecers’ productivity amounts to only two-thirds that of the United States and it is lower to that of a good number of developed countries. Part of this low productivity is probably related to the shortfall in private investment.
Meanwhile, Québec is grappling with three major challenges:
- Québec’s changing demographics which will have a downward impact on its ability to renew the labour force and the active population ratio;
- Global competition and the shifting of economic growth centres to Western Canada, a fact already being borne out by its negative trade balance for the last 10 years;
- A heavy presence by the Québec government which, despite its extremely high taxation level, continues to amass the biggest public debt in America, about 60% of which is attributable to cumulative budget deficits.
Fortunately, Quebecers are able to rely on many major assets:
- A highly educated labour force and world-calibre institutions.
- Strategic and abundant natural resources and a favourable geographic location.
- An economic and industrial structure that is among the most diversified and integrated in North America, with world leaders in various fields of endeavor.
- A broad cultural diversity and a location as the francophone centre in America.
Instilling the urge to prosper in Québec!
“Standard of living and quality of life are closely linked,” stated Ms. Kozhaya. “The population won’t have a sense of belonging to a prosperous society if it hasn’t attained the level of collective wealth that will enable it to meet its needs. Moreover, the feeling of prosperity will be heightened as incomes will rise. By working to overcome their deficiencies and relying on their assets, Quebecers will have to ensure that their standard of living improves if they don’t want to see a lowering of their level of satisfaction and happiness!”
A society is prosperous if it creates wealth, and provided this wealth ensures its population with a better quality of life. Prosperity also has to be sustainable: it should not just be limited to boom times, and it has to benefit future generations, as much as current citizens. It has to be prolonged and set on foundations that ensure the longevity of its effects.
To accomplish this, Quebecers have to be instilled with the urge to prosper and discuss the potential solutions at their disposal. This is the challenge being taken up by the PROSPERITE.QUEBEC, Prosperity for, by and with all campaign!
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About the PROSPERITE.QUEBEC campaign: It is an inclusive campaign uniting all the individuals and organizations that believe in Québec’s extraordinary potential and are eager to further unleash this potential in a responsible and sustainable manner, for the benefit of society as a whole.
About the Quebec Employers Council (CPQ): 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 employer federation. It represents directly and indirectly more than 75,000 employers of all sizes in both the private and public sectors, with operations in Quebec.
Information and interviews:
Senior Consultant – Communications
514.288.5161 (extension 235)