QUÉBEC, June 4, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Martin Coiteux, Minister responsible
for Government Administration and Ongoing Program Review and Chair of
the Conseil du trésor, today tabled the 2014-2015 Expenditure Budget
along with the approach selected by the Gouvernement du Québec to
ensure that public expenses are managed more carefully and responsibly
in the long term.
"For 2013-2014, the deficit is estimated to be $3.1 billion. If nothing
is done, the deficit will exceed $5 billion in 2014-2015 and grow even
more in the years after. Québec's public spending is rising faster than
its revenue. This is a situation that cannot last. We have to take
action," declared the Minister.
The 2014-2015 Expenditure Budget was designed to meet three underlying
objectives: taking the necessary action for 2014-2015, quickly;
restoring a sustainable balanced budget in 2015-2016; and bringing
government expenditures down to a level compatible with Quebecers'
ability to pay, permanently.
2014-2015 budget approach
Not long after the general election, the report on the state of public
finances from financial experts Godbout and Montmarquette clearly
showed that it would be impossible to return to a balanced budget
without taking immediate action and simultaneously taking long-term
steps to tackle the structural deficit.
On April 24, the Government responded by announcing a series of
administrative measures to control government spending, including the
productivity gains equivalent to 2% of total payroll;
additional efforts leading to a 3% reduction in operating expenses, and
tighter controls on the process for granting subsidies.
These measures will generate $490 million in annual savings, including
$305 million in program expenditures. Additional administrative
measures identified by the various government departments according to
their specific circumstances will help in the effort to balance the
The Government also introduced the principle of a freeze on spending, a
mechanism designed to guarantee that any new programs are financed from
In addition, all government departments have been asked to put their
shoulder to the wheel in recent weeks and make some tough choices.
Specific cost-cutting measures have been identified by each department.
The remaining total to be absorbed by government departments and bodies
in 2014-2015 stands at $2.728 billion.
Expenditures under review include a number of initiatives introduced
primarily by the previous Government in circumstances that were
unfavourable to them.
The Government plans to extend the staffing freeze to the health and
social services and education networks, extrabudgetary bodies, special
funds, and bodies that carry out fiduciary duties.
Stringent monitoring of staff growth across the entire public,
para-governmental and peri-public sector will now be ensured. To
achieve this, a bill to steer management of staff of the Government
apparatus will be tabled this fall to set out the parameters of the new
orientation. In particular, it will empower the Government to set
staffing numbers per job category.
Ongoing Program Review
The actions listed above will generate the short-term savings needed to
balance the budget. However, international experience shows that
structured spending control is necessary in order to ensure lasting
For this reason, Québec is currently engaged in a process to establish
an ongoing review of State-administered programs.
A variety of transformative measures will be put in place, including the
creation of an Ongoing Program Review Commission that will allow the
Government to reposition itself and institute a process of ongoing
assessment aimed at shifting the State's focus toward priority programs
and to areas where needs are the most pressing
For assistance in carrying out this process, the Government will seek
out new ideas, in particular by leveraging internal and external
expertise and initiating ongoing social dialogue with government
partners and the general public.
"We are opting for a disciplined, responsible approach to public
spending because that's how Quebecers want us to manage the money
raised from their taxes. The Government wishes to send a clear message:
it is tightening its control on expenditures throughout the entire
Government while making sure that priority services are maintained.
Each expenditure must be assessed, prioritized and justified, taking
into account our present situation and the collective interest. The
Government hopes that all departments and bodies, as well as all
employees and partners of the State, will join in this Québec-wide
undertaking that is crucial for the prosperity of Québec," concluded
SOURCE: Cabinet du président du Conseil du trésor, ministre responsable de l'Administration gouvernementale
For further information:
Office of the Minister responsible for
Government Administration and Ongoing
Program Review and Chair of the Conseil du
Tel.: 418 643-5926