Quebec’s CAQ government to present first budget March 21


 27 February 2019

Quebec’s Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government will present its first budget on March 21.

The government said it will focus on health, education and the economy in order to reduce the tax burden.

“This is really in line with our priorities,” said Quebec Finance Minister Éric Girard, adding that there will be “good news” in these sectors.

Since being elected into power, the CAQ has dealt with various issues related to immigration, education and health.

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CAQ wants to give more power to Quebec’s nurse practitioners


 20 February 2019

Quebec’s health minister wants to give more power to nurse practitioners as part of a plan to ease the backlog in the healthcare system.

Commonly referred to as ‘super nurses,’ nurse practitioners in Quebec aren’t able to use their skills to their full potential, the way they can elsewhere in Canada.

Health Minister Danielle McCann is set to change that.

“We’re the only province where this exists, where a nurse practitioner is not able to make a diagnosis,” she said. “And also they’re being supervised, so they have to refer to doctors regularly, to be supervised in the interventions that they’re doing.”

McCann wants to allow nurse practitioners to make diagnoses for chronic illnesses – something they’re already trained to do – without requiring the patient to follow up with a doctor.

“That’s something that would be very useful for us and for my doctor colleagues also,” said Mathieu Tancrede, a nurse practitioner at the CLSC des Faubourgs.

The CAQ said it wants to give Quebecers better access to healthcare overall.

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40 minutes of recess to become mandatory in Quebec schools


 14 February 2019

It’s a proposal from the CAQ that’s sure to be popular with Quebec kids.

As of the next school year, a 40-minute recess will be a requirement in all schools – a move the CAQ promised in its election campaign.

The CAQ says a longer recess is key to better health for children and better performance in school.

Recess in Quebec will now be two 20-minute breaks.

Schools across Quebec currently average about 30 minutes a day, in two slots of 15 minutes.

The CAQ will now enforce a minimum of 40 minutes a day for schools — or two slots of 20 minutes.

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CAQ government moves to offer pre-K classes across province


 14 February 2019

The Coalition Avenir Québec government is moving forward on its promise to extend kindergarten to four-year-olds in the province.

Education Minister Jean-François Roberge tabled legislation this morning ensuring that “all children having reached four years of age will be entitled to preschool education services” by the 2020-2021 school year, “regardless of the economic area that they live in.”

As it stands, pre-K classes are available in some schools in low-income areas.

Bill 5 would require the service to be offered by “all school boards according to the general framework provided for in the Education Act.”

Private schools will also be able to offer the pre-K service under the proposed changes.

Premier François Legault and Roberge will explain the plan during a news conference this afternoon.

The pre-K pledge was a key part of the CAQ’s election campaign, but school boards have argued it would be costly and difficult to implement.

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CAQ calls for committee to study teen prostitution


 8 February 2019

The CAQ wants to create a committee at the National Assembly to study the issue of teen prostitution.

Former Montreal police officer Ian Lafreniere is spearheading the effort.

Lafreniere is now the CAQ MNA for Vachon.

CAQ MNA Lise Lavallee is also behind the initiative.

Lafrieniere says there’s a lack of understanding about the problem, and the government needs more information to be able to deal with it.

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CAQ bill boosts power to verify values, French proficiency of immigrants


 8 February 2019

The just-tabled Bill 9 would also help eliminate the backlog of applicants — and give government the power to move them to the regions.

The immigration minister has tabled sweeping legislation designed to eventually increase his powers to verify the knowledge of French, Quebec and democratic values of new arrivals as was promised in the provincial election campaign.

And the Coalition Avenir Québec government is also seeking the power to trash a large chunk of the backlog of 18,000 immigrant applications it found sitting in government file cabinets when it took over from the Liberals rather than try to process them.

Quebec plans to refund the $1,000 application fee for anyone who applied to enter Quebec as an economic immigration before Aug. 2, 2018 under the Regular Skilled Worker Program. The move will cost the treasury about $19 million. Some of the applications date back six years.

Applicants will be informed of the decision and, if interested, may re-apply under the existing Expression of Interest Program, which matches the work skills of potential immigrants with employers seeking labour.

That reflects the CAQ approach to “marry the profile of workers and available jobs,” instead of the old first come, first served system, said Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette.

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Health minister OKs site of future Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital


 5 February 2019

After a period of reflection, the Coalition Avenir Québec government has decided that the previously selected location of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital is fine after all.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Health Minister Danielle McCann said the government was always committed to delivering the hospital on time, but wanted to confer with “all stakeholders” to make sure measures would be taken to “minimize environmental impact and compensate for the loss of agricultural land.”

To compensate for the construction of the hospital on agricultural land, its footprint will be reflected in an equal amount of land being set aside for people who want to garden.

“I think that was the key to resolving the problem,” Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon said. “Details aren’t hammered out yet, but it will be small parcels of land where people can grow fresh produce.”

In December, McCann announced the government was having second thoughts about the proposed location — on 25 hectares of land near the intersection of Highways 40 and 30 — which had been approved by the previous Liberal government.

Her announcement caused an outcry in the region. The 23 mayors who make up the MRC Vaudreuil-Soulanges had reached a consensus with the Liberals. They said moving the location would throw a wrench into the timeline for the project and extend its delivery date by years.

Face School to get $150 million renovation from Québec government


 1 February 2019

Face School in downtown Montreal will receive up to $150 million from the Quebec government to undergo major renovations, likely to take seven years, the Montreal Gazette has learned.

The Liberal government having refused to fund the project last year, sources say the new CAQ government, elected on a promise to address the deterioration of school infrastructure, will announce on Friday that the project can go ahead.

The question remains, however, where will the 1,400 English and French students go while the building is being repaired?

Face School/ École Face, a project unique in Canada as an English and a French school, an elementary and a high school, all specialized in fine arts, has been in a state of decrepitude for years.

Housed in the former Montreal High School on University St. built in 1914, the ancient electrical, heating and plumbing systems all need to be redone as do the floors, and the façade, of heritage value, needs to be restored.

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Former police officer, MNA Ian Lafrenière organized an information session on organized crime and corruption for his colleagues during the CAQ caucus retreat in Gatineau

Quebec’s elected officials learn how to protect themselves from organized crime


 1 February 2019

Quebec’s elected officials learned how to protect themselves from being targeted by organized crime during the second day of their pre-session caucus retreat in Gatineau.

The information session was organized by two of the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) MNAs, Ian Lafrenière and Denis Lamothe, who are former police officers.

A similar session was offered by the National Assembly for all MNAs after the Oct. 1 election, but Lafrenière points out ongoing training is important as organized crime becomes increasingly sophisticated.

“We’re going to make that clear, that with organized crime, there is an evolution also,” he explained.

“We’re not talking about people getting into your office with a large pile of money and asking you to do something for them. Believe me, with all the reports, with each investigation journalists have done, they’ve been [getting] better and better.”

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Labour minister says it's 1st time in Quebec history that minimum wage is half provincial hourly average

Quebec’s hourly minimum wage to go up by 50 cents on May 1


 1 February 2019

Quebec’s minimum wage will climb to $12.50 an hour on May 1 — increasing the hourly wage of some 288,000 workers by 50 cents, provincial Labour Minister Jean Boulet announced Wednesday.

In this way, the government contributes to “increasing the purchasing power of the most vulnerable workers” without reducing employment numbers or taking away from the competitiveness of companies, Boulet said in a statement.

The hourly wage increase will provide a boost to the province’s economy, provide an incentive for low-wage earners to work and help reduce poverty, according to the ministry.

In 2018, the average hourly wage in the province was $24.92. With the minimum wage increasing to $12.50 per hour, it will reach 50 per cent of the average hourly wage for the first time in provincial history, Boulet told reporters on Wednesday.

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