QFL reaction to economic update

7 November 2023

Montréal, November 7th, 2023. – The Quebec Federation of labour (QFL) is dismayed to see that the Legault government is staying the course on budgetary restraint, with a spending increase of 2.3% per year, even though it has a significant leeway of $10 billion, as estimated by the Parliamentary Budget Officer last July.

The signal being sent out by Quebec is that we’re once again heading for austerity measures, while Quebec’s services and population have suffered in the past, just before facing a global pandemic. People are out of breath and need more help and leadership from their leaders. As for the return to a balanced budget by 2027-2028, there’s no reason to panic, according to the head office. Instead, we need to take the time to get our public services and social programs back on track,” says QFL President Magali Picard.

Furthermore, the announced investments in social housing should have been much more generous and have targeted affordable community and cooperative housing, to provide real relief for families struggling to find adequate housing. It should also be noted that the budgeted amounts for public transportation are clearly insufficient. Quebec will have to do its homework on this,” adds the president.

The new inflation forecasts in the Economic Update are cause for concern for public sector workers. The government’s wage offer of 10.3% over 5 years falls far short of actual and expected inflation. The economic update confirms that the October 2023 wage offer is even worse than the December 2022 offer. The 5-year impoverishment of public sector workers would rise from 7.4% to 7.8%. The 1.7% variation in inflation forecasts clearly demonstrates the need for an automatic and permanent clause to protect purchasing power. For the Common Front, of which the QFL is a member, this proves that the government’s latest wage offer has just gone up in smoke, even though it would leave workers even further behind.

Finally, the QFL is wary of corporate tax holidays, since it believes that corporate assistance measures should be linked to the creation of good jobs and to measures that will help build communities. Many communities are facing labour shortages, and the government should commit to a serious reflection on its economic development strategy,” concludes the QFL president.

The QFL, Quebec’s largest central labour body, represents over 600,000 workers.

Source : QFL

Jean Laverdière Tél.: 514 893-7809 Courriel: jlaverdiere@ftq.qc.ca

Translation : UES800