On the eve of the start of the provincial election campaign: The Quebec Employers Council appeals for a shock-resistant economy

Montréal, August 22, 2018 – On the eve of the start of the provincial election, the Québec Employers Council (CPQ), Québec’s largest employer’s group, reiterates the priorities it will be addressing with the various parties during the up coming campaign.

With the economy seemingly in sound shape and our public finances in a positive state, which was confirmed by the auditor general’s Pre-Election Report on the State of Public Finances published by the Minister of Finance on Monday, it would be tempting to go on a frivolous spending spree. In fact, some observers already regard the maneuverability room – which some estimate to be $11 billion – as a risk for the parties to haphazardly start tossing around a series of electoral promises.

Considering the many uncertainties and obstacles facing our economy in the coming years, the CPQ believes the government needs to strike a balance between caution and audacity by devoting part of the maneuverability room in the provincial budget to make our economy even more resilient – shockproof, in other words.

«Despite green go signals thus far, the fact remains that Québec faces historic shortcomings in terms of investment, productivity and technological maturity. While some industrial sectors or certain regions have stood out more than others, the overall results are still quite mixed, as attested by our latest Report Card on Québec Prosperity. In tandem with this, however, there is a downside to the good grades in the category of employment: there is a labour shortage, and it is especially prevalent in certain regions and sectors. » stated CPQ President and CEO Yves-Thomas Dorval.

This is why, over the course of the election campaign, it is of utmost importance the parties not take the province’s economic growth for granted, and they need to make sure they don’t disregard the challenges posed by the manpower shortage, as well as technology and climate changes.

Minister to the economy to prosper!

Drawing on its 2018-2021 economic platform, “Allied for Prosperity”, the CPQ recommends putting the emphasis on four basic ingredients that are needed to stay the course in achieving a shock-resistant economy.

Make education and training a priority. A prosperous society is one that is productive and on the leading edge of knowledge. Our economic and social challenges are going to be best supported by well-educated citizens and by workers who are upgraded in their knowledge and skills. The demographic situation and the job market dictate we no longer have the luxury of even the slightest lapse. Stable and planned-for investments in education and continued learning are needed.

Give every business more room to maneuver from a fiscal standpoint. We need to achieve a more competitive tax system, not just for the small and medium businesses, but for the larger companies, as well. While they are often taken for granted, they are major purveyors of well-paying jobs, and they generate a sizeable amount of economic activity in the wake of their business operations; they do so in a highly competitive global market. Currently, labour, innovation and investment are excessively taxed.

Remove the constraints and uncertainties related to investment. We need to aggressively activate the growth engines, which are innovation, diversification and globalization. The ingenuity and creativity of entrepreneurs are already well established, but they encounter problems with a fiscal, legislative and regulatory structure that is often far heavier than in other American jurisdictions. It’s good to start up a business. Maintaining the business and attracting new ones and letting them grow up is even better.

Successfully make our shift in the areas of the digital and energy economies. While some states are still wondering whether they need to go to the starting line of a global race that has already begun, we are well-positioned, although it’s the success or failure of conducting this shift that will determine the winner or loser. But the challenges of business support in Québec are still formidable.

“The examining of Québec’s budget situation shows that providing businesses with more latitude can de done, and deploying new tools is doable, as well,” remarked Mr. Dorval. “We need to provide the means to raise the productivity of our businesses and thereby make them even more competitive.”

Note: THE CPQ’s 2018-21 economic platform strives to ensure that employers have the most favourable conditions to prosper and thereby enable Québec to prosper as a whole. It puts forward 24 priorities, divided into six major areas of intervention. To learn more about this: click here.

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Nadine Légaré
Senior Consultant – Communications and Media Relations
Conseil du patronat du Québec
[email protected]
Office: 514-288-5161 extension 243
Cell.: 514-265-5471

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 70,000 employers of all sizes in both the private and public sectors, with operations in Quebec.

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