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2016 Québec Budget

2016 Québec Budget


March 18, 2016

Update for members:
On March 17, Québec Finance Minister Carlos Leitão tabled the provincial budget for 2016-2017.  There were no major surprises or announcements.

It is a balanced budget that promises more balanced budgets to come.  As of March 31, the debt is set to decline by 0.1 percentage point, to 55% of GDP.  The target remains steady at 45% of GDP by 2026.

The increase in consolidated expenses (excluding debt service) was 2.5% for the year that just ended, and the projected growth in expenses is between 2.3% and 2.4% from now to 2021: 

  • 2.4% increase in expenses for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.
  • 2.3% increase in expenses for 2018-2019 and the following years.

Education absorbs the largest share
The government’s proposed education plan calls for investments of $1.2 billion over three years, divided between investments in direct services and investments in infrastructure for the education network.

Budget highlights

  • Reduction in the contribution rate to the Health Services Fund (HSF) for all small and medium businesses (SMBs).
  • Creation of a deduction for innovative manufacturing firms, by reducing the tax on income derived from a patent to 4%.
  • Creation of a new refundable tax credit for large digital transformation projects.
  • Several changes to income tax credits.


Payroll tax for the health services fund:

  • Slight reduction in the contribution to the Health Services Fund for SMBs in the service sector (from 2.7% to 2.0% in 2021) – for businesses with a payroll under $1 million.
  • For businesses with a payroll between $1 million and $5 million, the tax increases linearly to 4.25%.

Payroll tax:

  • The tax rate for small businesses will stay at 8%, while the rate for the manufacturing and primary sectors is reduced to 4%.  Québec’s small retailers will continue to be taxed at 8%, more than double the average in the rest of Canada, which is 3%.

Omnical investment:

  • $28.2 million will be invested in the next five years in several measures, including tax credits and software purchases.
  • Part of this sum will also be invested in the Digital Strategy that will be tabled by May 2016.
  • The tax credit offered on the cost of contracts awarded for the integration of management software packages will now be available to SMBs in the wholesale and retail sectors.
  • A tax credit will be offered for major digital transformation projects, to support the transition to the digitized business processes. The rate will be 24% of salaries paid for certain categories of employees, on the condition that the project creates at least 500 jobs in Québec in the first two years of a contract that lasts at least seven years.


  • $45 million will be spent in the next five years to promote the development of the agri-food industry (exports, food processing research, use of better agricultural practices, and oversight of the Québec alcoholic beverage industry).
  • The Québec government intends to develop an agri-food strategy in 2016-2017, in cooperation with industry stakeholders.

RénoVert investment:

  • Introduction of a new refundable tax credit for green residential renovations, until March 31, 2017, equal to 20% of eligible expenses, including the replacement of septic tanks, to a maximum credit of $10,000.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact Luc Tremblay, Director of government relations, at 514-982-0267, extension 339, or by email at


Pay equity maintenance: March 31, 2016 deadline

Pay equity maintenance: March 31, 2016 deadline


March 17, 2016

By March 31, 2016, no fewer than 4,875 of the 9,000 or so Québec retailers subject to the Pay Equity Act will need to have completed their pay equity maintenance evaluation.

Click here to download the RCC Pay Equity Guide for members (in French).

Unlike the results of the “original” pay equity exercise, which had to be posted by or prior to the deadline provided for under the Pay Equity Act, the pay equity maintenance evaluation and the ensuing posting of results must always be carried out on the same date every 5 years (the “anniversary date”), failing which the posting will have no legal value. This date is March 31, 2016 for most retailers. Basically, the “anniversary date” for evaluating pay equity maintenance is determined by the date on which the new pay equity exercise results were posted or, if these results were not posted by the set deadline, the date on which the posting should have been carried out. To calculate your date, click here or contact the Commission.

Consequences of failing to comply with the obligation to evaluate pay equity maintenance.

Employees or their union may submit a complaint should the evaluation of pay equity maintenance not be performed. An investigation will be initiated once such a complaint is filed. Furthermore, to ensure employer compliance with their obligations under the Act, the Commission has introduced a verification program for all enterprises, regardless of activity sector, region or size. A team of investigators is mandated to oversee the execution and compliance of the pay equity maintenance evaluations carried out by those enterprises targeted under the verification program.

Whenever a complaint is submitted or an investigation initiated by the Commission, a decision is ultimately rendered, with which the employer in question must comply. Even when no decision is rendered, an employer that fails to comply with its obligations may be subject to certain consequences:

  • Whenever a maintenance evaluation is carried out beyond the prescribed time period and there are retroactive adjustments, interest at the legal rate will apply. It is always preferable to comply with established deadlines.
  • An employer that fails to comply with its obligation to evaluate pay equity maintenance may be criminally prosecuted or fined. The amount of such a penalty can range from $1,000 to $45,000.

Note that if you have had an average of 10 employees (or more) during a given year, you must first carry out a pay equity exercise and then, a maintenance evaluation.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact Stéphanie Aubin, Director public and government relations, at 514-982-0267, extension 332 or by email at


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Randall Craig

Post image for Randall Craig

Social Media & Web Strategist

In response to viewer demand, Randall Craig, the usual host of Professionally Speaking TV, steps in as a featured guest in this episode. As a best-selling author, and sought after consultant in the field of social media and web strategy, he shares several best practices on how to successfully bind online activities to a business strategy. With a strong history in developing engaged communities, Randall Craig talks about broadcasting versus engagement, handling “comments”, and developing successful client relationships. With social media being a particular strength of his, Randall Craig offers up avenues of connecting social media with Customer Relationship Management and Search Engine Optimization to create a powerful online presence with an impact on business. Learn about Randall Craig’s coveted Anchors and Outpost strategy. Learn how to mitigate risks in online identity theft. Learn how the 4 P’s of marketing fit into today’s strategies.