On Dec. 3, Quebec Minister of Finance Éric Girard and Premier François Legault delivered their government’s first economic update on the province’s finances. The Coalition Avenir Quebec has inherited a $1.7-billion surplus for this fiscal year, and is expecting a yearly surplus between $2 and $3 billion over the next three years.
Given this strong financial position, the Quebec government intends to spend more than $3 billion over the next five years on targeted tax breaks for families and businesses. This will include tax incentives worth $1.6 billion to boost the productivity of Quebec businesses, which will largely take the form of accelerated depreciation measures, aimed at encouraging companies to transition to higher-performing technology and machinery. Capital expenditures, such as computer hardware and manufacturing equipment, will qualify (until 2024) for a 100 per cent depreciation rate.
Restaurants Canada applauds the accelerated implementation of existing tax write-offs for equipment purchases, as this was one of the association’s demands during consultations on the last budget. The new tax incentives for efficient equipment will likely also be a boon to restaurants and foodservice operations that plan on modernizing their equipment.
The mini-budget announcement also outlined a plan to accelerate repayment of Quebec’s debt. By the spring, Legault’s government plans to take $8 billion from the Generations Fund to repay existing debts on financial markets. It is expected that, by lowering interest payments, the repayment will free up $1.4 billion over five years.
Restaurants Canada will continue to ensure that the voice of foodservice is heard during any consultation or process that the Quebec government undertakes around managing the budget surpluses and will continue to advocate for reductions to payroll taxes and small business tax rates. Working on ways to alleviate the foodservice industry’s ongoing labour shortage also continues to be a priority. Restaurants Canada is calling for tax credits for older workers and students, so that they can participate in the workforce without their pensions or bursaries being impacted.
If you have any questions or concerns, you can send them to David Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Federal and Quebec, at DLefebvre@restaurantscanada.org.