Québec, June 16, 2017 – Over the last six months, we have demonstrated both our collective solidarity in the face of tragedy and our common desire to fight prejudice, mistreatment, and intimidation in all its forms. This statement has also been echoed by our economy’s remarkable performance in an uncertain and fragile global context. We have also asserted ourselves, as a people, among our Canadian and international partners: being Quebecers is our way of being Canadian.
Quebec is affirming itself in a complex and unpredictable world. Our government is meeting the challenge it set for itself in 2014: we are working towards an innovation-driven economy that is open to the world and aimed at the success of young people and improved universal access to healthcare. Quebec can count on a strong government team that is putting every region on the right track.
– Philippe Couillard
The economy is growing and creating jobs
Since our arrival in government, nearly 164,000 jobs have been created. These jobs are mainly full-time and in the private sector, and represent an average of over 1,000 jobs created per week. The unemployment rate is at a historic low of 6.0%. In addition, the minimum wage has been increased to $11.25, benefitting over 350,000 workers in Quebec.
An innovation-driven economy
Throughout Quebec, the government is working daily to facilitate the modernization of the sectors that are traditionally at the heart of our economy, while also encouraging the emergence of new niches of excellence. The government’s strategy is structured to encourage our manufacturers to innovate, boost exports, and stimulate entrepreneurship. Since the beginning of 2017, we have unveiled the 2017-2022 Quebec Research and Innovation Strategy, which calls for an investment of $585 million over the next 5 years. We also launched the 2017-2027 Quebec Life Sciences Strategy, which will have a budget of $205 million.
Businesses, including those in the manufacturing sector, are at the forefront of Quebec’s booming innovative economy. This is reflected in a number of initiatives, including the Rendez-vous national sur la main-d’œuvre, a meeting held to find solutions to employment challenges; the enhancement of the ESSOR program to support the forest industry; and the modernization of manufacturing companies through an additional investment of $125 million. We should also mention the continued implementation of the Marine Strategy, which includes 203 confirmed initiatives that should lead to the creation of more than 8,000 jobs in all regions of Quebec.
Better conditions to enable the success of young people
The March 2017 Quebec Economic Plan for the next five years includes additional investments of $3.4 billion to encourage educational success, provide better guidance to students, improve the quality of training, increase graduation rates in higher education, and provide better financial support to students. This has increased the budget set aside for young people, from early childhood through to higher education, to more than $20 billion for 2017-2018. These investments allow for the addition of 1500 professional resources to help students on the road to success, while also adding 100 new kindergarten classes for 4-year-olds in low-income areas and making our schools more stimulating living environments.
In the field of higher education, 500 additional people will be present at Quebec’s CECEPs and universities in September to provide more support to students. We have also improved access to education by investing $80 million in student financial assistance.
Better access to health care
Quebecers will also benefit from better access to health care. Since December 2014, 710,000 additional people have access to a family doctor. The creation of 14 super-clinics will facilitate access to professional health services. We also announced the training of 2000 nurse practitioners by 2025 to provide healthcare across Quebec.
We have improved homecare support by announcing an additional investment of $69 million. These funds will allow us to hire more people in order to ensure a better quality of life for seniors and vulnerable people. An additional $26.5 million was invested to provide better care and support to 5,500 adults and young people with mental health problems. We unveiled our 2017-2022 Autism Spectrum Disorder action plan, which will enhance services for people with autism and their families, including rehabilitation services, respite care, recovery services, and caretaking. Finally, we passed a bill to address the abuse of seniors and other vulnerable adults.
During the 2017 session, around 20 bills were passed as a result of the collaboration of all members. Bill 98, which aims to facilitate the integration of immigrants into the labour market, was improved and unanimously adopted. Next, Bill 132 on wetland conservation was passed, making Quebec a leader in this domain. Bill 102 on environmental quality was also welcomed. This bill will modernize the environmental authorization system and reform the governance of the Green Fund.
The spring was also marked by the unanimous adoption by the National Assembly of the Act to combat maltreatment of seniors and other persons of full age in vulnerable situations. The government also passed another highly anticipated piece of legislation, Bill 113, amending the Civil Code and the legal framework with respect to adoption. This Act includes a section on customary adoption, a traditional practice among the First Nations and the Inuit. An adequate response to the Jordan ruling was also made with the passage of Bill 138, which promotes access to justice by allowing courts in adjoining judicial districts to be used, thus reducing delays in criminal and penal proceedings. Finally, the government recently passed Bill 122, which increases the autonomy and powers of municipalities in all regions of Quebec.