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Quebec to give people up to $600, if they make under $100K, due to inflation spike

Click to play video: 'Quebecers making less than $100K a year to receive between $400-$600'
Quebecers making less than $100K a year to receive between $400-$600
WATCH: Some much-needed financial relief is coming to millions of Quebecers next month. Government-issued cheques of up to $600 are being sent by Revenue Quebec to help offset the rising costs of living. As Global's Tim Sargeant reports, the money can't come soon enough for those who need it most. – Nov 9, 2022

Quebecers earning $100,000 or less will receive another cheque as of December to help offset the impact of rising inflation.

Finance Minister Eric Girard announced Wednesday the additional cash to help people as the costs of living continues to increase, calling it an “simple and effective measure.” About 6.5 million adult residents will see that money in their pocketbooks in the coming weeks.

“We are helping people who need it,” he told reporters at the provincial legislature in Quebec City.

It comes five weeks after the Oct. 3 provincial election, where the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) won a stronger second mandate. During the election campaign, Premier François Legault promised and outlined a plan to cut a cheque to Quebecers by year’s end if his party were re-elected.

Adult residents who earn less than $50,000 per year will receive a non-recurring $600 payment. The government will send $400 to those with salaries between $50,000 and $100,000.

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Read more: Quebec premier under fire for promising another inflation cheque, if re-elected

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The non-taxable cash will be directly deposited into bank accounts or sent by cheque to Quebecers who filed their 2021 tax returns. The government says taxpayers who have yet to file have until the end of June 2023 to do so in order to get the money.

Girard also warned people against fraudsters, saying the province will not contact people by text message, phone or email.

“These messages are fraud attempts,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Quebec finance minister announces cheques for adults to combat inflation'
Quebec finance minister announces cheques for adults to combat inflation

This is the second time the government will cut a cheque this year, citing stubborn inflation. In March, the province gave a one-time, lump sum payment of $500 to all adults earning $100,000 or less as part of the 2022-2023 budget.

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Girard also said he will provide an update on Quebec’s financial and economic situation on Dec. 8. The main concern for this year has been inflation, he said, but the province will focus on measures to stimulate the economy in 2023.

The latest cheque comes as a recent survey found Quebecers are feeling the pinch, with the vast majority experiencing financial anxiety at levels that vary from mild to extreme. The survey, which was conducted by Leger for Centraide of Greater Montreal, found 85 per cent of respondents reported feeling economic stress.

Opposition parties slam measure

Parti Québécois MNA Pascal Bérubé called on Girard to review his plan, saying the government should instead be introducing more targeted steps to help those struggling to make ends meet.

“It’s a measure that casts too wide a net, sending $800 to families who earn $200,000 per year,” Bérubé said in a statement Wednesday. “While some are in dire need in the current situation.”

The PQ argues that the province should double the solidarity credit, gradually raise minimum wage and give more money to Quebecers who earn less than $50,000 annually.

Click to play video: 'Strategies to deal with inflation'
Strategies to deal with inflation

Québec solidaire finance critic Haroun Bouazzi also criticized the idea. In a statement, he said that the provincial government once again chose a “simplistic and unfair measure that will not permanently resolve the cost of living crisis. ”

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Girard, for his part, has defended the upcoming one-time payment, saying people will decide for themselves how to use the money.

“We believe that Quebecers know best, what’s important to them. They will decide whether they pay their credit card, spend it on food, additional transportation,” Girard told reporters. “We really believe Quebecers are best to determine what to do with this cost-of-living adjustment.”

Quebec defends decision while asking Ottawa for more health funds

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized provinces that are seeking more money from Ottawa for health care while spending billions of dollars in inflation-related payments or tax cuts.

He said Legault made a choice to send money to citizens rather than spend it on something else.

Girard refuted Trudeau’s argument, saying the province can still help Quebecers facing inflation while also needing more funding for its health network.

Read more: More than 8 in 10 people facing financial anxiety in Quebec, survey finds

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Girard said the federal share of health-care funding has steadily decline since the late 1970s and that health care now represents 43 per cent of Quebec’s budget, with costs increasing by around five per cent a year.

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“What is undeniable is that the proportion of the funding for health care that is assumed by the federal government has gone down over time and will continue to go down,” he said.

Quebec’s premier blamed Ottawa for the lack of progress in health-care funding negotiations between the federal government and provincial and territorial health ministers.

“I can’t believe that Mr. Trudeau is saying that ‘Mr. Legault shouldn’t help Quebecers cope with inflation,”’ Legault said.

—with files from The Canadian Press

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