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Quebec to fight inflation with cheques for low-income earners as deficit drops

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A year after posting a record deficit, the Quebec government tabled an economic update Thursday that contains a smaller-than-expected deficit thanks to a spike in economic growth.

Finance Minister Eric Girard says the province’s deficit for the current fiscal year is now forecast at $6.8 billion, down from the $8.3 billion that had been projected — and less than half the $15-billion deficit reported last year.

He says Quebec will return to a balanced budget in 2027-28.

The province’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 44.3 per cent, down five percentage points from last year’s projections, amid economic growth of 6.5 per cent.

The economic update, which comes less than a year before the next provincial election, also includes one-time payments to help seniors and people with lower incomes deal with the rising cost of goods.

Quebec will also expand a refundable tax credit for people who send their children to non-subsidized daycares as part of an effort to deal with the long waiting lists for spaces in its public daycare system.

The province plans to spend $3 billion over five years to retrain 170,000 workers as it looks to deal with a shortage of labour.

More details to come.

– This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2021.

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