A more prosperous society
March 11, 2003 - In the 2003-2004 Budget Speech, Deputy
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Economy and Research
Pauline Marois presented concrete measures aimed at continuing
to develop the economy and achieving full employment, ensuring
prosperity in all regions of Québec and promoting the
return of young people to outlying regions.
by the remarkable economic performance to date, our government
has set 2005 for achieving full employment. The strategy I
released in December contains clear objectives and a specific
process to that end. It stems directly from the Horizon 2005
action plan tabled last fall by our government. Through the
2003-2004 Budget, we will be able to step up our efforts on
behalf of economic development and ensure that all regions
of Québec share in the prosperity," the Deputy
Prime Minister declared.
developing the economy . . .
support economic development and achieve full employment,
the 2003-2004 Budget Speech identifies three strategic areas
of intervention: worker training, support for business investment
and assistance for technological change, in particular in
the biotechnology sector.
. . by capitalizing on the wealth of our labour force
the training of Québec workers is crucial, Ms. Marois
announced that $60 million over three years will be invested
to better meet job market needs.
of that amount will be used to accelerate vocational and technical
training for trades in high demand. Another portion of the
amount will be used to enrol more people in training or employability
programs so that they can re-enter the job market. We also
want to facilitate job entry for people aged 45 and over by
helping them to better develop their skills," the Minister
of Finance, the Economy and Research affirmed.
. . by promoting business investment
conjunction with the Towards Full Employment strategy, and
to promote business investment, the 2003-2004 Budget provides
for an injection of $43.6 million as of this year. Helping
businesses become more competitive and improving their access
to financing are the two means that have been retained to
Marois announced, in this regard, three major initiatives
promoting the increase of exports, the development of cooperatives
and the growth of social economy businesses.
. . by turning technological change to greater advantage,
in particular in the biotechnology sector
ensure that the many firms that have recently emerged in the
promising sector of biotechnology grow and take hold in Québec,
access to sufficient venture capital must be offered to them.
is why Ms. Marois announced today the creation of a fund to
promote the growth of emerging biotechnology firms in Québec.
The fund will be allocated minimum capital of $300 million.
The Société Innovatech du Grand Montréal,
which will coordinate the fund's implementation, as well as
the Fonds de solidarité des travailleurs du Québec
and the Société générale de financement,
will each contribute $50 million at the outset. Other private
investors, both local and foreign, will be called upon to
contribute. "Thus, Québec is setting up a major
strike force, capable of preserving and intensifying the role
of this industry in the Québec economy," the Deputy
Prime Minister stated.
Bio-Levier program will continue to facilitate the growth
of emerging biotechnology firms by granting capitalization
loans. The 2003-2004 Budget Speech injects another $50 million
into the program, over and above the $100 million already
an additional investment of $3 million in 2003-2004 will enable
college centres for technology transfer to provide more support
for innovation in the regions, and $5 million will be granted,
as of this year, to finance business incubators, which assist
new businesses by providing them with better support, accelerating
their growth and increasing their survival rate.
prosperity in all regions . . .
. . by promoting the return of young people to the regions
make it easier for young people to remain in, or return to,
the remote resource regions, the 2003-2004 Budget Speech provides
for targeted measures totalling $27 million a year:
· a refundable tax credit for new graduates of up to
$8 000, and a new refundable tax credit for the businesses
that hire them;
· a tax credit on the interest paid on their student
loan that is twice as generous as the credit available to
other young people;
· an enhanced tax credit for on-the-job training.
. . . by ensuring vibrant businesses in the regions
ensure the vibrancy of businesses in the regions, the Deputy
Prime Minister announced additional funds of $17 million,
beginning this year, to support projects stemming from ACCORD
(for Action Concertée de Coopération
Régionale de Développement) agreements.
no fewer than six regions have mapped out their game plan
and signed an ACCORD agreement. In this way, Québec
and its regions are breaking new ground and positioning themselves
as few societies in the world have done," indicated the
Minister of Finance, the Economy and Research.
another effort to ensure the vibrancy of businesses in the
regions and support projects and special initiatives, Ms.
Marois announced that a $25-million budget will be entrusted,
as of this year, to the regional development councils. In
this way, the government is responding to a request from regional
organizations and will make sure that they have all the necessary
leeway in the use of these funds. "Regional leaders will
have to determine their priorities together," concluded
the Deputy Prime Minister.
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