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Staying the Course: Quebec's Fiscal Balance Challenge


  • Pierre Fortin

    (l’Université du Québec à Montréal)


In its upcoming budget, Quebec must stay on a tough road to fiscal balance.This study examines how Quebec’s fiscal balance has deteriorated. By 2009, after 10 years of balanced budgets, the province faced an unsustainable structural deficit which, if left unchecked, would reach a staggering $12 billion in 2013, increasing to $27 billion in 2019. This budgetary imbalance, says Fortin, surfaced even though Quebec’s economy performed relatively well for the last 20 years and amid the recent global crisis. To explain the budgetary slump, the author points to population aging, previous tax cuts, the multiplication of infrastructure investments, program spending growth, expected slowdown of federal transfers, and expected rising interest rates on the public debt. Professor Fortin believes Quebec’s government should stay the course on restoring budgetary balance by 2013/14, while launching healthcare reforms and promoting productivity growth by concentrating its interventions in education, access to foreign markets, competition, taxation, and public infrastructure.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre Fortin, 2011. "Staying the Course: Quebec's Fiscal Balance Challenge," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 325, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdh:commen:325

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Angelo Melino, 2011. "Moving Monetary Policy Forward: Why Small Steps - and a Lower Inflation Target - Make Sense for the Bank of Canada," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 319, January.
    2. Jotham Peters & Chris Bataille & Nic Rivers & Mark Jaccard, 2010. "Taxing Emissions, Not Income: How to Moderate the Regional Impact of Federal Environment Policy," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 314, November.
    3. Philippe Bergevin & William B.P. Robson, 2011. "The Costs of Inflexible Indexing: Avoiding the Adverse Fiscal Impacts of Lower Inflation," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 322, February.
    4. David Longworth, 2010. "Warding Off Financial Market Failure: How to Avoid Squeezed Margins and Bad Haircuts," C.D. Howe Institute Backgrounder, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 135, December.
    5. Stuart Landon & Constance Smith, 2010. "Energy Prices and Alberta Government Revenue Volatility," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 313, November.
    6. Bev Dahlby, 2008. "The Marginal Cost of Public Funds: Theory and Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262042509, January.
    7. Alexandre Laurin & William B.P. Robson, 2011. "A Faster Track to Fiscal Balance: The 2011 Shadow Budget," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 320, February.
    8. John Richards, 2011. "School Dropouts: Who Are They and What Can Be Done?," e-briefs 109, C.D. Howe Institute.
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    More about this item


    Fiscal and Tax Competitiveness; Quebec government; Quebec budget;

    JEL classification:

    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures


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