The two plans that Quebec has adopted over the past 15 years to combat poverty and social exclusion have not produced the expected results. They never succeeded in meeting the objective of an ad hoc law adopted by the National Assembly in 2002, a law that would raise Quebec to the club of industrialized nations with the least number of poor people.
This statement, which is both stern and lucid, is drawn up by the Quebec Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, Francois Blais. “We never achieved that goal,” he says. Quebec is doing well in North America, but less so in the industrialized nations.
In an interview with Le Soleil on Thursday, Blais made a commitment to present a third plan to fight poverty and social exclusion by the end of spring – a plan that will be expanded and structured, he promises .
The document will establish clear poverty reduction targets and indicate the means to achieve them, with supporting investments. This third plan will cover the years 2017 to 2022.
It will be based on precise targets for poverty reduction, says Francois Blais before asserting that “Quebec is in a position to achieve the objective” prescribed in the 2002 Act. Measurement indices exist, such as Based on the “basket of consumption”.
At this point, his department knows what money must be invested to improve the situation.
The next plan to fight poverty and social exclusion will better support people living alone and couples without children, the minister said. This has already been recommended by the Advisory Committee to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion.
While relative, the less affluent with children have seen their conditions improve over the years through allocations and supports from the provincial and federal levels.
Francois Blais notes that a society whose economy is progressing makes it possible, in itself, and more than anything else, for many citizens to leave the circle of poverty and exclusion. But that is not enough.
He will not say more about the means he intends to take. Discussions are ongoing with his government colleagues.
However, anyone who is aware of these issues may think that Quebec will improve programs such as the work premium and the solidarity tax credit. All citizens at the bottom of the scale would benefit, but the effect would be greater for those living alone or as a childless couple. The minister does not comment on these assumptions.
As a reminder, the Solidarity Tax Credit is designed to help low- and middle-income households.
The work premium is an incentive to encourage people to work, even if it is a low wage. Currently, for a single person, it can be $ 725 a year. A single person is no longer entitled to an annual income of $ 17,720. For a couple with at least one child, this premium can amount to $ 3,144 per year. It disappears completely once the household reaches an annual income of $ 47,665.
Indices in the budget
Additional aid to organizations supporting poor and excluded people who are deprived of social networks should also be included in the plan.
This plan will be unveiled later this spring. But we should see the first cursors move in the next budget of Quebec, which will be presented by the end of the month.
We will not find the plan itself, which will run until 2022, but we should see the first bonuses, which will be put in place during the next year.