In this seventh edition of its Overview of productivity and prosperity, the Centre for Productivity and Prosperity (CPP) recommends that the Quebec government focus on two levers in order to support growth in the province’s economy: make education its main priority, and give the province a real economic development policy, so that its actions reflect a long-term vision.

To reach these objectives, the CPP suggests that the government introduce universal, free and optional kindergarten for four year olds, and make changes to the curriculum for secondary Cycle 2 students so as to offer young Quebeckers more options, with a greater emphasis on vocational training, while promoting access to higher education. The Centre also recommends that the province adopt a real economic development policy with more effective support for companies, and above all one that reduces the burden on them. For that purpose, it should focus on four actions: reducing the use of fiscal aid and relying more on budgetary aid; targeting small and medium-size businesses; establishing better-defined aid targets and parameters; and establishing a systematic review process for the aid allocated.

The study notes that there is reason for concern in terms of education and economic development. If the Quebec government wanted to restore its per capita education spending on students under age 30 to a level near the Canadian average, it would have to inject another $1.6 billion. And when it comes to economic development, the results are not what could normally be expected. Even though the Quebec government allocates proportionally three times more financial aid to businesses than the Ontario government, private-sector output over the past 15 years has not allowed the province to close the major economic gap that has widened since the early 1980s.

To read more : Deslauriers, Jonathan, Robert Gagné and Jonathan Paré, Productivity and Prosperity in Quebec – 2015 Overview, Centre for Productivity and Prosperity, HEC Montréal, January 2016.