“Five regions are under high surveillance”


 30 March 2021

The Premier of Quebec, François Legault, reminded us today that, in the context of an increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 and the increased circulation of variants in Quebec, heightened vigilance and strict compliance with instructions are more essential than ever.

“We must remember that visits to homes are still prohibited. It is the adherence to this measure that concerns us the most. And with the long Easter weekend coming up, it’s even more concerning. This is no time for family parties or friends’ parties! ”The Premier was adamant that the Department of Public Safety will be providing an increased police presence over the coming weekend.

Five regions under high surveillance

The Premier also warned the population of five regions that are currently under high surveillance: Outaouais, Capitale-Nationale, Chaudière-Appalaches, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Bas-Saint-Laurent.

“The next few days will be critical. We are monitoring the situation very closely, especially the situation in hospitals. For the moment, we think that the most important thing is to respect the measures that are already in place,” reiterated the Premier. Public health authorities are monitoring the situation closely. If the situation continues to deteriorate in any of the areas indicated, it may be necessary to tighten up some of the measures.

“What is risky is not the vaccine, it is not getting vaccinated. The third wave is here. If we don’t want it to be too big and too long, if we don’t want to clog our hospitals, we need to refrain from gathering in homes. I ask you not to hold family gatherings for Easter. I understand that we are anxious to see each other. But we have to do it later. The vaccine is our passport to freedom. But we need time to vaccinate everyone. This is not the time to let go. I beg you: no house calls and, as soon as you can, get vaccinated! ”

François Legault, Premier of Québec

“With the variants spreading more and more, this is really not the time to relax our efforts, when we are so close to the goal. In some regions, the increase in the number of new cases clearly shows that the measures in place are not being respected. With the variants, the virus is more easily transmitted. We need everyone to control the spread as long as possible until a significant portion of the population is vaccinated. We have made several gains in the last few months. No one wants to go backward. ”

Christian Dubé, Minister of Health and Social Services

Budget 2021-2022


 29 March 2021

A little more than a year after the start of the pandemic and at a time when the rapid progress of the vaccination campaign suggests a way out of the crisis, the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, today presented the Quebec Budget Plan – March 2021, which provides for measures totalling close to $15.0 billion over the next five years, including $5.2 billion starting this year, to :

  • strengthen our health care system
  • support student success and youth;
  • accelerate growth and the transition to the new economy in Québec;
  • support Quebecers.

Strengthening our health care system
The government has made significant efforts to support the health care system during the first two waves of the pandemic and continues to do so in the 2021-2022 budget by announcing investments of more than $10.3 billion over the next five years, including $2.9 billion this year, to extend the measures announced since March 2020 to manage the health crisis and to enhance health care and services for Quebecers

Supporting academic success and youth
Young Quebecers have been particularly affected by the pandemic and its impact. Several important aspects of their lives have been affected. That is why, in the 2021-2022 budget, the government is making them the focus of its priorities by announcing initiatives totaling $1.5 billion over the next five years so that each of them can develop their full potential.

The government wants to support young people from the time they start school until they enter the job market. The initiatives announced today aim to :

  • support academic success
  • support perseverance and graduation in higher education
  • facilitate professional and social integration;
  • promote the practice of sports and recreation.

Accelerating economic growth and the transition to the new economy in Québec
The government is maintaining its objectives for creating wealth and increasing Québec’s economic potential. In addition to major investments in education and higher education, the 2021-2022 budget proposes initiatives totaling $4.0 billion over the next five years to stimulate business investment and improve productivity in all regions in order to accelerate growth and the transition to Quebec’s new economy.

Increasing and accelerating infrastructure investments
The economic recovery depends in particular on investments in our public infrastructure. In this regard, the government is increasing investments in the 2021-2031 Quebec Infrastructure Plan (QIP) by $4.5 billion, from $130.5 billion to $135.0 billion. Nearly 60% of the plan’s investments are planned over the next five years to accelerate the economic recovery.

Ensuring the integrity and fairness of the tax system
The government is continuing its actions to ensure the integrity and fairness of the tax system. In particular, it will act to ensure that the QST is collected on goods brought in from abroad through distribution warehouses. Additional revenues of $1.8 billion are expected within five years.

Quebec’s economy will quickly return to cruising speed
The economy slowed considerably in 2020, but the outlook for 2021 and 2022 suggests a strong economic recovery. After an unprecedented decline in 2020, real GDP is expected to grow by 4.2 percent in 2021 and 4.0 percent in 2022.

The economic recovery will be driven by household consumption and residential investment, business investment and government stimulus packages. Although the recovery is already underway in the labour market, a return to full employment is expected by the end of 2022.

Structural deficit to be eliminated within seven years
The resilience of the Quebec economy in the face of the crisis and the scale of the support measures implemented by the government have made it possible to limit the deterioration of public finances and to begin the recovery. For 2020-2021, the budgetary deficit is stable compared to the situation forecast in November 2020 and reaches $15.0 billion before the use of the stabilization reserve. It will decline to $12.3 billion for 2021-2022 and $8.5 billion for 2022-2023.

The government is committed to not implementing any measures to reduce the budget deficit until Quebec has returned to its pre-pandemic employment level in two years. Thus, the return to a balanced budget is now expected in 2027-2028. The plan to return to a balanced budget will be based on the government’s commitment not to increase the tax burden, on growth in spending that is in line with revenue, on accelerated economic growth, and on an increased federal contribution to health spending.

In addition, the government is committed to maintaining payments to the Generations Fund.

Debt remains under control
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop to the decline in the debt burden. As of March 31, 2021, the net debt-to-GDP ratio will be 45.0%, which remains lower than the 47.9% as of March 31, 2017. The debt burden is expected to stabilize over the next few years, falling back from 2024-2025 with the gradual return to a balanced budget.

“For just over a year, the government has mobilized significant resources to manage the health crisis and support the public and businesses. We are continuing our efforts in this budget, which proposes several measures that will put Quebec back on the growth path it was on until early 2020.

We will restore a balanced budget in seven years, maintain payments to the Generations Fund, support the healthcare system and do everything possible to increase Quebec’s economic potential in order to emerge from this crisis even stronger. “

Eric Girard, Quebec Minister of Finance

High school students back to school full time


 25 March 2021

During his update on the pandemic situation in Quebec, Quebec Premier François Legault announced today that Secondary 3, 4 and 5 students in the red zone will return to school on a full-time basis as of March 29. This relaxation is also in effect since March 22 in the regions in the orange zone. Thus, all high school students will be back in class full time as of next Monday. “This is excellent news and I am very pleased! It’s important for young people to be in school,” said the Premier.

Quebec resists the third wave

The epidemiological situation remains stable in Quebec, which is good news in a context where the rise of variants is confirmed in many places around the world. “Quebec is resisting. The measures and follow-up measures have worked, but the war is not over. We still have a few difficult weeks ahead of us. We must continue to be cautious while we accelerate the vaccination,” said the premier. Mr. Legault announced at the same time that we should reach the milestone of one million Quebecers vaccinated today.

An important call for vigilance was also made. The situation in the Outaouais, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Bas-Saint-Laurent regions is being closely monitored, as the daily number of cases has been rising in recent days. Compliance with sanitary guidelines and measures in effect is essential to contain the spread, particularly in the context of the increase in the number of cases linked to the variants.

RPP dining rooms re-opened in red zone

Effective immediately, all private seniors’ residences (PSRs) where 75% of residents have been vaccinated in the last three weeks will be able to reopen their dining rooms. Specifically, RPPs in high alert (red) areas where residents have been vaccinated for more than 21 days will be allowed to re-open their dining rooms. Operators will be responsible for ensuring that all of the identified measures are in place. Infection prevention and control (IPC) measures must be strictly enforced both inside and around the dining room.

Prime Minister to be vaccinated on Friday

Since the vaccination operation in Montreal is now aimed at people 60 years of age and older, the Prime Minister has announced that he will be vaccinated this Friday, March 26. “I will finally be able to set an example. And I’m ready to receive any of the vaccines that will be given to me! ”, he announced enthusiastically.

150,000 Quebec Homes Will Have High-Speed Internet By 2022


 25 March 2021

The Government of Canada, the Government of Quebec and Internet service providers (ISPs) Videotron, Cogeco, Bell, Xplornet, Sogetel and TELUS are jointly launching the vast “Canada-Quebec High-Speed Operation” to connect close to 150,000 homes to high-speed Internet by September 2022. This operation is made possible by an equal investment of $826.3 million from the governments of Canada and Quebec.

The announcement was made today by Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and François Legault, Premier of Quebec, along with François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Gilles Bélanger, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier of Quebec for High-Speed Internet.

In the context of the global pandemic of COVID-19, when access to quality Internet service has become even more essential, it is imperative to accelerate the deployment of this service as much as possible and, to do so, to go beyond the usual framework. Working with ISPs, adding a deadline with penalties to new contracts, and covering 100% of homes in the project area will ensure that this happens quickly.

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Quebecers pay tribute to the victims of COVID-19


 11 March 2021

Today was the National day of remembrance for victims of COVID-19 in Quebec, one year to the day after the World Health Organization announced that the coronavirus epidemic had become a global pandemic.

To commemorate the victims and to show solidarity with their families, a ceremony was held on the forecourt of the Parliament Building in the presence of bereaved families and representatives of priority services.

Also taking part in the commemoration were Quebec Premier François Legault, Quebec Lieutenant-Governor J. Michel Doyon, the President of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, and the President of the Canadian Council of Churches. Michel Doyon, President of the National Assembly François Paradis, Official Opposition Leader Dominique Anglade, Second Opposition Co-Spokespersons Manon Massé and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, Quebec Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault, Minister of Health and Social Services Christian Dubé Minister of Higher Education, Danielle McCann, Minister responsible for Seniors and Caregivers, Marguerite Blais, Minister of Health and Social Services, Lionel Carmant, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Dominique Savoie, National Director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, and former Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Yvan Gendron

Several symbolic gestures were made on the occasion of this national day of commemoration.

To learn more about the ceremony, click here.

Five new regions move to the orange level


 3 March 2021

Accompanied by the Minister of Health and Social Services, Mr. Christian Dubé, and the National Director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, the Premier, Mr. François Legault, announced that five new regions will go on Orange Alert. As of March 8, the regions of Capitale-Nationale, Chaudière-Appalaches, Estrie, Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec will change color codes.

In these regions, the curfew will remain in effect, but will be extended from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. This also means, for these regions, the reopening of training rooms, theatres and restaurants (maximum of two adults per table, accompanied, if applicable, by their minor children). Also, the practice of sports and leisure activities alone, in pairs or by the occupants of the same private residence in open indoor public places will be permitted.

The Montreal, the Laurentians, Lanaudière, Montérégie and Laval regions remain on the red tier. “There are still too many active cases. As a precaution, we must keep these regions in the red zone,” said François Legault.

The Premier made a point of specifying that, although the epidemiological situation has greatly improved in all the regions that will be moving to the orange level in recent weeks, the issue of variants continues to be of concern and is being monitored very closely by public health. “When we look at the pandemic situation in general, the number of cases and hospitalizations has stabilized. We have reached a plateau. In fact, the increase in the British variant, which is more contagious, has stopped the descent. Our fear is that it is on the rise again. It will be necessary to remain very careful if we do not want to return to the red zone. I want to be very clear: even in the orange areas, private gatherings will remain forbidden. Our room for manoeuvre is limited,” warned the Premier.

Additional flexibilities

The relaxations that were announced on February 26 will remain in place after March 8, particularly with respect to public pools, skating rinks and cinemas, which will remain open in red and orange zones. “We hope to be able to announce soon additional relaxations, especially for young people, in the area of sports and recreation, but we must go very gradually,” explained the Prime Minister.

In keeping with this approach, the Premier took the opportunity to announce an initial easing in the school environment: certain extracurricular activities in preschool, elementary and secondary schools will be able to resume, as of March 15, in class groups only, and this, throughout Quebec, in both the orange and red zones.

Also, in the orange zone, places of worship will be able to accommodate a maximum of 100 people, as of March 8, provided that sanitary measures are strictly enforced.

If the epidemiological situation remains favorable, new relaxations should be announced, starting next week, for theaters, places of worship and sports. “I know the importance of sports in people’s lives, especially young people. There’s nothing better than sports to relieve stress. It is essential for the mental health of many, but we must all understand that some sports can bring contact and therefore contagion,” explained Mr. Legault.

A curfew will remain in effect throughout Quebec, at 8:00 p.m. in the red zone and 9:30 p.m. in the orange zone, telework will remain mandatory and gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, will still be prohibited throughout Quebec and at all times.