Quebec Standard

Monday, February 26, 2024

Anti-poverty groups ask the sense of Quebec’s $500 payout


Key takeaways: 

  • ‘It’s not going to the individuals who require it most,’ says the head of one food bank.
  • Quebec Premier François Legault congratulates Finance Minister Eric Girard after giving the government’s budget on Tuesday at the National Assembly in Quebec City.

Quebec’s pre-election budget had a clear, direct benefit for 6.4 million individuals: an extra $500 in their pocket.

Anyone who carries home $100,000 or less after taxes — around 94 percent of taxpayers — is suitable for the money. That counts up to $3.2 billion in total. 

The payout, declared Tuesday in Premier François Legault’s final budget before a regional election set for October is meant to help compensate the rising expense of living, with the rate of inflation at its highest level in decades. 

But many advocates and neighborhood groups dispute the money could have been better used either by putting more money into the hands of people with the least spending power or by funding more into programs and services that would help them.

Also read: Quebec budget comprises a $500 handout, better for health care

The payout, declared Tuesday in Premier François Legault’s final budget before a regional election

“It’s not a targeted answer, and it’s not moving to the people who need it most, so I don’t think it’s decreasing inequity the way we would have expected to see,” said Tasha Lackman, executive director of the Depot Community Food Centre in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighborhood.

Adejoke Olaniyan, a customer of the food bank and a single mom of a 12-year-old boy, said the cash wouldn’t be sufficient to help her make ends meet.

She lives in a small flat but says she is working part-time as a caregiver; it’s not accessible for things like her son’s school uniform.

“It’s going to be tough,” she said. “I won’t lie to you; I’m scared. I’m scared because I don’t get sufficient hours as a single mother working as a caregiver.”

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