At a glance: Winners and losers of Quebec’s 2014 budget

Quebec's finance minister Nicolas Marceau talks to reporters about the budget tabled on February 20, 2014. Alex Chabot/Global News

QUEBEC – There were winners and losers on Thursday as Quebec’s Parti Quebecois government presented its latest provincial budget in Quebec City.

READ MORE: PQ government tables budget, touts economic performance amid election talk

Winner: Montreal
In addition to the $34.2 billion for infrastructure by 2023, the government has reinstated the annual $25 million payment to Montreal. The city also benefits from monies earmarked for culture: the 375th anniversary celebrations will be supported with $125 million; funding for the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal will continue; the Musee d’art contemporain de Montreal will get $18.9 million for its expansion and Longueuil’s new cultural complex has been promised a cash injection of $20 million.

The rainbow flag flies over city hall alongside the Olympic flag in Montreal, Friday, February 7, 2014, for the duration of the Winter Olympic games in Sochi. Tim Sargeant/Global News
Firefighters work at the scene of a senior's residence fire on Thursday, January 23, 2014 in L'Isle-Verte, Que.
Winner: Volunteer firefighters After recent disasters in Lac-Megantic and Isle-Verte, the government is investing $4 million in 2014-2015 for the training of part-time volunteer firefighters, so that municipalities and RCMs can respond effectively to disasters. Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Winner: Social housing
The Quebec government wants to create more social housing. The budget has allocated $270 million for 3,250 social housing units, with 15 per cent earmarked for 500 units for the province’s homeless.

David Sedell/Global News

Winner: Homeless people
In addition to social housing, the government has earmarked $6 million for local services to help homeless people.

A homeless man sleeping on a bench in the Montreal metro. Denis Beaumont/The Canadian Press

Winner: IT and technology
The Quebec government has earmarked $15 million for 2014-2015, and $40 million annually thereafter, to improve clinical and financial information on patient health care and results. It confirmed $150 million for a digital cultural strategy to help cultural organizations make a technological shift.

Chinese hackers infiltrate Canada’s National Research Council computers
The Quebec government to invest millions in digital technology. AP File

Winner: Oil development
The Quebec government hopes to reap 60 per cent of profits from oil development in Anticosti.

Denis Duteau, former mayor of Anticosti, inspects a well on August 13, 2013 on Anticosti Island, Canada, where oil exploration operations were conducted in 2010. Duteau was hired as a lobbyist by Petrolia, a Quebec oil company that plans to start pumping shale oil. Clement Sabourin/AFP/Getty Images

READ MORE: Five highlights from Quebec’s ‘beige’ budget

Story continues below advertisement

Loser: Parents
Parents have not been paying their fair share of daycare costs and so the government is increasing the cost of daycare from $7 a day to $9 by 2015. Although the hike has been estimated to cost two-child families up to $1000 more a year, it’s a decision welcomed by the Conseil du patronat du Québec, which represents the provinces largest employers.


Loser: School boards
By integrating school boards, the Quebec government hopes to save approximately $125 million, which it said it would reinvest in student services. Marceau said that the difference between per-student-costs of school boards with between 5000 and 9999 students and those with at least 35,000 students is over $1000. “We don’t count beans, we educate students,” said the Association for English School Boards in Quebec, whose school boards all have fewer than 35,000 students.

English Montreal School Board launched a campaign to raise awareness of the bilingual nature of its schools. Global News

Loser: Public servants’ salaries
When it renegotiates its agreement with Quebec’s 430,000 public service employees in March 2015, the government said it wants to set “responsible remuneration with its employees” in order to reduce the $37.3 billion public service payroll costs, which represent 59 per cent of government spending.

An aerial view of Quebec’s National Assembly. Global News

Loser: Quebec doctors
Quebec’s finance minister has put the province’s doctors’ on alert: your salary hikes are costing us too much. To make up for the pay gap between Quebec physicians and physicians practising elsewhere in Canada, doctors’ salaries have risen on average by 67% since 2008, while public and parapublic sector employees’ salaries have grown by just 22 per cent during the same time period. The government wants to renegotiate how much Quebec doctors are paid.

Dr. Keith Smith, right, an anesthesiologist who started Surgery Center of Oklahoma, looks on as Dr. Don McGinnis, left, and physician's assistant Steve Popielec, right, perform a surgery at the center in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Loser: Foreign students
After the Higher Education Summit, the government reviewed the tuition fees of foreign students (students who are not resident in Quebec). In 2011-2012, the cost of educating foreign students came to $573 million, of which 55 per cent was funded by the government. “It is important to emphasize the significant total cost of training them,” said the finance minister, “while ensuring that they continue to pay among the lowest tuition fees in North America.”

David Sedell/Global News

Sponsored content