June 4, 2014 4:29 pm

How does Quebec’s new budget affect you?

Watch: West Island budget reaction

QUEBEC CITY – The Quebec government’s new budget may be all about cutting the deficit and encouraging growth – but how does it affect you?

Parents with kids in daycares
Those parents concerned about the proposed $2-per-day increase on daycare will be relieved to hear that childcare services will, like university tuition fees, be indexed according to the rate of growth.

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As of October 1, 2014, the daily cost will rise to $7.30. As of September 1, 2015, the parental contribution will be raised by a factor equivalent to the annual growth in the cost of childcare services, which is projected to be roughly $7.45 per day. The government also announced an increase in daycare places will be increased by 6,300 in 2014 and 4,000 per year until the completion of the network.

Senior citizens
The theme of the province’s aging demographic runs throughout the budget; Quebec’s population is growing older and the government had a few tantalizing treats for the elderly, including a 20 per cent refundable tax credit of up to $200 for seniors’ activities and a promise to look into a loan program based on increased property valuation to help seniors who are long-time homeowners and struggling to pay property taxes and school tax bills.

According to the government, more than 70 per cent of Quebecers under the age of 65 continue to hold a job and earn employment income while also receiving a pension from the registered pension plan. To recoup $52 million in 2014-2015, the age of eligibility will be raised to 65 for all retirement income splitting on all sources of retirement income.

Smokers and drinkers
Are you still a smoker? Head out to the dep and stock up, because as of midnight Wednesday, cigarettes are going up by $4 a carton. The government hopes to earn an additional $210 million for its coffers with this measure by 2016.

Quebec’s various tax rates for alcoholic beverages will be standardized, bringing in an additional $91 million by 2016. For example, in a dep or the SAQ, the tax on beer is 50¢ a litre, while in a bar or restaurant, the tax on beer is 82¢; for wine and spirits, the difference is even more, marked at $1.12 versus $2.47 a litre for beer and wine/spirits.

Tax on a litre of Dep/SAQ nowBar/restaurant nowBoth post-budget
Beer50¢82¢63¢
Wine $1.12$2.47$1.40
Spirits  $1.12$2.47$1.40

As of August 1, 2014, the rate will be 63¢ per litre of beer and $1.40 per litre of wine and spirits for purchase in a dep, SAQ, bar or restaurant.

In real terms, this means that a bottle of beer bought for home consumption will cost you 5¢ more, the price of a bottle of wine 24¢ more, and a 1.14-litre bottle of spirits will set you back 37¢ more. This will mean a significant tax savings for Quebec restaurants and bars, but whether these will be passed on to customers remains to be seen.

Job seekers
The Finance Minister is hoping that continued investment in infrastructure, the resurrection of the Plan Nord and big plans for small businesses could mean more jobs for the province. However, if you want a job with the public service, you’re out of luck. The government is hoping to get a mandate for a general hiring freeze in both the public and parapublic sectors until the end of March 2016, saving $600 million.

On average over the past five years, there have been 6,250 new full-time jobs each year, with 15,000 government employees who retire. The Liberals would like the discretion to replace retirees in one department with new hires in another.

Home owners
The government is hoping that home renovations will take off because of the LogiRénov tax credit it introduced in April, encouraging up to $3 billion in home renovation spending and supporting more than 20,000 jobs in the industry. The credit offers a tax rebate of up to 20 per cent eligible renovation expenses in excess of $3 000, to a maximum of $2 500.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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