QUÉBEC, March 26, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - While focusing on Québec's development and prosperity, the Economic Plan contains $309 million worth of initiatives for the benefit of all communities. Among other goals, the initiatives will ensure the safety of elderly people and address the needs of the most vulnerable among us. "Solidarity and mutual aid are fundamental values of Québec society, and the restored fiscal balance will enable us to continue supporting promising initiatives that will benefit every community in Québec," Minister of Finance Carlos Leitão stated.
Measures to protect the elderly
In follow-up to the tragic fire of January 23, 2014, at the Résidence du Havre in L'Isle-Verte and the Delâge Report on the circumstances surrounding the fire, the government announced that the installation of automatic sprinklers would become mandatory for all existing residences for the elderly.
To help the owners of these residences comply with this requirement, the Economic Plan is introducing a financial assistance program for the installation of automatic sprinkler systems. The program, which will be administered by the Société d'habitation du Québec, will cost an estimated $70.6 million over the next five years.
"We must not compromise in any way the safety of the elderly, and we are taking action to prevent more tragedies of this kind," the Minister said.
On a different note, the government is also honouring another commitment made in Budget 2014‑2015 by announcing the introduction, on January 1, 2016, of a new assistance program to help seniors pay their municipal taxes. The program, which will receive annual funding of $3 million, aims to help homeowners for whom an increase in their home's property value brings with it a rise in municipal taxes that exceeds the increase in their income.
Improving the housing conditions of the most disadvantaged
In order to ensure that low-income families or families with specific housing needs live under adequate conditions, the Economic Plan has earmarked investments totalling $284 million for housing, including:
- $126 million for the construction of 1 500 new social housing units;
- $123 million for the Rent Supplement program, to provide 5 800 less-fortunate families with affordable housing;
- $35 million to adapt and renovate low-income family homes.
Support for Fondation du Dr Julien
The government also plans to support the Fondation du Dr Julien with the development of its network of centres that aim to make community social pediatric care accessible to 20 000 vulnerable children in Québec by 2020. The government will contribute $22 million over the next five years. Its contribution could total $60 million by 2020.
"Dr. Julien is a pioneer in the development of community social pediatrics in Québec and his work to help our most vulnerable children develop in what are often harsh living conditions is commendable. In support of this foundation, we are investing in the health of the youngest members of our society as well as in the future of Québec," Mr. Leitão stressed.
Fighting inequality, bullying and radicalization
The government will be unveiling an action plan to fight bullying that will propose flexible solutions tailored to various life environments and different vulnerable population groups. To that end, the Ministère de la Famille will receive additional appropriations of $4.4 million over three years.
Furthermore, the government is determined to take action to counter radicalization, which is affecting Québec like elsewhere. The government is thus confirming the implementation of an action plan to identify and prevent radicalization leading to violence (Plan d'action québécois pour le dépistage et la prévention de la radicalisation menant à la violence). The Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion, which will be responsible for the plan, will thus receive additional appropriations of $4 million over the next three years.
SOURCE Cabinet du ministre des Finances
For further information: Andrée-Lyne Hallé, Press Relations Officer, Office of the Minister of Finance, 418 643-5270