Montréal, November 24, 2014 ‒ The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal welcomes the submission of the first recommendations of the standing committee on program review, the Commission de révision permanente des programmes.
“This is a credible, well-structured report that offers some interesting avenues,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “Program review is a much-needed exercise that we support, and we understand that the timeframe provided limited the committee’s work and pressured it to target a few programs that would quickly achieve part of the savings the government is after. But the Board of Trade would like to reiterate that program review must be an exhaustive, ongoing effort, one that goes well beyond balancing the budget. We have to improve program efficiency while taking into account our ability to pay.”
The Board of Trade focused on the Robillard report recommendations that affect Greater Montréal. “We support the principle that municipalities need to do their part to improve provincial public finances and therefore limit growth in spending,” Michel Leblanc said. “But the city is facing major challenges that are placing a great deal of pressure on its financial framework and its ability to foster a competitive business environment. As we have said before, this is why Montréal needs additional powers and sources of financing.”
“The Board of Trade generally supports the choice to increase fees rather than taxes,” Mr. Leblanc said. “The increase in daycare fees sends a more accurate price signal, while using refundable tax credits to prevent a rate shock among disadvantaged households. But the Board of Trade is concerned about the impact of an immediate, significant increase in fees on women’s participation in the workforce, at a time when companies are facing a major demographic crunch. We would also like to repeat our opposition to introducing income-based progressivity for fees for public services. Progressive tax tables ensure better income redistribution and, as we all know, our tax rates are already higher than anywhere else in North America.”
“With respect to funding international students, the Robillard report’s recommendations are in line with those of the Board of Trade,” Michel Leblanc said. “We are confident that lifting the ceiling on tuition fees for foreign students and adjusting them to reflect the field of study and discipline will improve university performance and funding. We believe that removing the ceiling on tuition will in no way affect our universities’ ability to attract foreign students.”
“This report also points to the need to introduce a permanent, rigorous program review process to ensure that programs reflect the principles of performance, equity and predictability and allow Quebec to tackle its economic and demographic challenges,” Mr. Leblanc said. “We understand that the next report by the committee will go into greater depth in program review, specifically by evaluating the most important areas, including health and education.”
About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has over 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the voice of Montréal’s business community and to promote the city’s prosperity. It is involved in key areas of economic development, advocating a philosophy of action based on engagement, credibility, proactivity, collaboration and innovation. The Board of Trade also offers a range of specialized services to individuals and to business of all sizes to support them in their growth at home and abroad.
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Michelle LLambias Meunier
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4042
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