Quebec’s economy is faring better and the Quebec government has decided to open the floodgates.

In his fifth budget, the Quebec Finance Minister is focussing on investments in a wide range of economic sectors. However, the current scenario places Quebec in a deficit position for the next two years.

Quebec’s 2018-2019 Economic Plan is casting a wide net, encompassing health, education, public transit, road infrastructures and families. Businesses will also reap benefits. Could the election year have influenced the many investment choices?

Support was expected for SMEs and the budget did not disappoint. Tax relief measures totalling $2.2B will be introduced by 2022-2023 to boost their competitiveness.

Lower payroll taxes

Corporate contribution rates to the Health Services Fund will be reduced, providing SME with $1.2B in savings.

Income tax reduction

An additional positive measure is the gradual decrease of the income tax rate for SMEs in the services and construction industries to 4% by 2022­2023, with the objective of having these SME eventually benefit from the same rates as SMEs in the primary and manufacturing term. This measure results in a $1B tax reduction.

Additional innovation support

The budget includes support for businesses to foster innovation and help them carve a place for themselves on the international market.

Support of $60M by 2019-2020 has been announced to promote the development of supply chains optimized by artificial intelligence. Additionally, relief totalling $241M has been provided to accelerate business investment in the next five years. These enhancements are the result of increasing the additional capital cost allowance from 35% to 60% and extending it to March 31, 2020 to support the acquisition of cutting-edge technologies. This measure would benefit more than 30,000 businesses investing to improve their productivity.

National labour strategy

Over the next five years, more than $800M will be invested to better support the labour market. Among others, the budget introduces a new tax credit for SMEs if they set aside time for their employees to develop their professional skills. In the coming weeks, the government will be tabling its 2018­2023 National Workforce Strategy. This national strategy will set aside significant resources to better integrate immigrants in the job market.

Regional economic development

The numerous measures announced include new funds totalling $724M by 2022-2023 for initiatives to be determined that would support economic development in the regions, be it for the forestry sector, mining development, pursuing the maritime strategy or the Plan Nord.

Voluntary disclosure program

The government is announcing a consultation to review the voluntary disclosure program with the potential objective of tightening it up like the federal government did.

For more information on the tax measures announced in the 2018-2019 budget, download the document below.

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Benoit Turcotte
Partner | M. Fisc. | Tax

What is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?

It’s the most important tax reform since 1986 and was voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in December 2017.

Do you do business in the United States? Are you wondering how this new reform will impact you?

Listen to our free webinar. Topics discussed include:

  • Changes to U.S. tax rates and the tax system;
  • Changes to interest deductibility, amortization and using operating losses;
  • New restrictions on using hybrid instruments and entities;
  • New rules for foreign corporations controlled by a U.S. corporation or citizen.

This information session is courtesy of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton and is given in French.

You can download the presentation below.

Watch online here (in French)
Password: rcgt2603

26 Mar 2018  |  Written by :

Mr. Turcotte is a partner at RCGT. He is your expert in taxation for the Montréal office. Contact...

See the profile

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Complementary summaries of the Canadian provincial budgets are posted online, or will be in the coming weeks, thanks to an initiative in association with Grant Thornton Canada.

New Brunswick

On January 30, 2018, New Brunswick Finance Minister, The Hon. Cathy Rogers, tabled the province’s 2018–19 budget. The province will continue to focus on the following three areas: health care, education and jobs.

The province has revised the projected deficit for 2017–18 to $115.2 million and has projected a deficit of $188.7 million for 2018–19. The province, however, is projecting a surplus of $69 million by 2021–22. Yet the province’s debt will continue to increase and is projected to reach $14.5 billion by the end of 2018–19.

There are no new tax measures or tax increases included in this budget. The budget contains relatively few taxation changes other than a decrease in corporate tax rates for small businesses.

British Columbia

February 20, 2018, Finance Minister Carole James tabled British Columbia’s 2018–19 budget. This is the first full budget presented by the province’s new government; it outlines an overall plan to increase affordability for residents of BC, with a primary focus on the need for affordable housing solutions and the demand for more affordable, available childcare.

Building on the legacy that was set by the previous government, the government has delivered the province’s sixth balanced budget in a row, and continues to project surpluses over the next three years.

Debt levels, however, are expected to increase and are projected to reach $77 billion by the end of 2020–21.


On March 12, 2018, Finance Minister Cameron Friesen tabled Manitoba’s 2018-19 budget (Budget 2018). This budget reduces taxes for small business corporations and individuals by increasing the corporate small business limit and basic personal amount.

Budget 2018 also reconfirms the government’s commitment to reducing the province’s deficit and returning Manitoba to fiscal balance.


Nova Scotia

On March 20, 2018, Finance and Treasury Board Minister Karen Casey tabled Nova Scotia’s 2018-19 budget (Budget 2018). This budget represents the third balanced budget in a row that has been presented by Nova Scotia’s Liberal government and, while it provides no major tax changes at the personal or corporate levels, it outlines the province’s commitment to investing in health care, education, early years, communities and inclusive economic growth.


On March 22, 2018, Finance Minister Joe Ceci tabled Alberta’s 2018-19 budget. This budget sees the province emerging from a time of economic recession with a focus on diversifying its resource-based economy to one that is resilient, stable and less vulnerable to future changes in the price of oil.

To accomplish its goals, the province’s NDP government has outlined three main areas of focus: diversifying the economy, protecting vital public services and returning the province to fiscal balance. It has been announced that the province will focus on controlling spending, eliminating waste and finding efficiencies in order to balance the budget by 2023, and then begin to focus on reducing the net debt levels.

Newfoundland and Labrador

On March 27, 2018, Minister of Finance Tom Osborne tabled Newfoundland and Labrador’s 2018-19 budget. This budget sees the province’s Liberal government focusing on reducing expenditures as part of an overall approach to address the province’s economic, social and fiscal challenges.

The government has indicated that these challenges need to be addressed in a balanced manner, without massive job reductions or cuts to services, to avoid a compounding effect on an already challenged economy. The province plans to work towards fiscal balance over the next five years by reducing the government’s overall footprint, achieving operational efficiencies through the use of technology and shared services, and continuing to focus on expenditure control.


On March 28, 2018, Finance Minister Charles Sousa tabled Ontario’s 2018-19 budget. As a result of the province’s strong economic performance over the 2017-18 fiscal year, the government has announced through this budget that it has achieved its target of fiscal balance for the year.

While previously it was projected that the province’s Liberal government would present balanced budgets over the next two fiscal years, recent policy changes have indicated that the government intends to make large strategic investments in infrastructure and social programs with the goal of creating conditions for a more robust economic expansion

Notable investments include the expansion of the OHIP+ (free prescription) program so that it applies to people aged 65 and above commencing August 2019, as well as investing $2.2 billion over three years to provide free, licensed child care, beginning in 2020, to children aged 30 months and above.



Available soon.


Prince Edward Island


Available soon.


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Over time, strong growth periods have always been characterized by major revolutions, particularly in the manufacturing industry.

Whether it’s called manufacturing 4.0, industry 4.0, digital transformation or smart manufacturing, the most recent industrial revolution provides Quebec businesses with a multitude of opportunities… until 5.0 makes its appearance. Industry 4.0 is not an end in and of itself, it’s an evolution to increase competitiveness and maintain added value in the marketplace.

Considered to be the fourth industrial revolution, following mechanization, mass production in the 19th century and production automation in the 20th century, industry 4.0 integrates digital technologies into the manufacturing process.

Undertaking the digital shift can provide numerous benefits to businesses, from improved process agility and data usage to cost reductions. It may even become a necessity to remain competitive and maintain business relationships with clients.

Entrepreneurs who want to undertake this shift are often hindered from doing so because of myths or concerns they’ve heard that impact how they perceive such a project. Here are some of them.

Myth no. 1: integrating 4.0 is an intimidating task

What you hear:
Many of the entrepreneurs we meet tell us they’re uncertain about undertaking the digital shift because, in their minds, it’s a colossal task. Despite its advantages, the process seems arduous because of the major changes involved, the significant investments in time and money required in the short term and because the overall transformation process is misunderstood.

What you should know:
The biggest mistake you can make in a digital shift is wanting to do it all at once, as this often leads to failure. The transformation must be carefully prepared, with each step progressively planned. Conducting an in-depth analysis of the company with an industry 4.0 audit and reviewing the objectives provide a clearer understanding of the projects to be implemented in an industry 4.0 transformation.

This analysis will also help define a project hierarchy to capitalize on the results and impact of each step and ensure greater control by spreading costs over time. This action plan will maximize the return on the investments in the medium term.

What you should do:

Our experts can assist all types of businesses (transport, services, manufacturing, etc.) in their digital transformation and they are now accredited by the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’innovation (MEI) as part of the program Audit industrie 4.0. Investissement Québec acts as the agent for this program and grants are available for businesses for all industries, including cooperatives and social economy enterprises, to enable them to begin the process and to benefit from the support of accredited experts.

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton - image

Myth no.2: Industry 4.0 only applies to technology

What you hear:
While the foundation of the fourth industrial revolution may be the connectivity of data and objects, technology is not the only consideration in such a transformation.

What you should know:
The digital shift impacts a business’s entire value chain progressively and has major repercussions on many factors:

  • Service delivery and product manufacturing processes;
  • Cross-border tax;
  • Commodity taxes;
  • Client and supplier relationship
  • Innovation and technological
    development financing;
  • Performance indicators;
  • Business financing;
  • Business processes;
  • Skill sets required;
  • Etc.

What you should do:
As with any industrial transformation, the digital transformation must be part of a strategically thought-out corporate project and rigorous deployment and monitoring process. Industry 4.0 applies to management, tax and financing as well as technology.

Myth no. 3: Industry 4.0 involves artificial intelligence

What you hear:
In recent months, industry 4.0 and artificial intelligence (AI) have been talked about in various media and may even be mistaken for each other. On a scale of maturity, AI is the highest use of data within an organization that serves to automate decisions and processes, among others.

What you should know:
It’s important to understand that you don’t necessarily need to use AI to reap the benefits of industry 4.0. There are various ways to exploit data, depending on operating maturity, that will provide significant added value. These include:

  • Descriptive analysis: observing what has happened;
  • Diagnostic analysis: understanding what has happened;
  • Predictive analysis: predicting what will happen.

What you should do:
An analysis of your data will help determine the value to be derived from applying these data to optimize your activities.

Myth no. 4: The 4.0 revolution is the answer to labour shortage

What you hear:
Some business owners undertake this process in the belief that automating certain processes will provide the same results with fewer resources and help resolve the labour shortage problem.

What you should know:
Automation will certainly change processes and procedures and may lead to some job cuts. However, it will not make jobs per se disappear—rather, it will change the nature of the work. Tomorrow’s worker will have a different profile. New positions will be created and new skills developed. Businesses will have a number of challenges to meet. The organizational structure will have to be reviewed to reflect new needs and employees trained so they can grow in their roles. Considering that people often resist change, an additional challenge will be to properly manage the shift to industry 4.0 so that key employees at the heart of the transformation are engaged and stay on.

What you should do:
Despite these challenges, industry 4.0 creates jobs with considerable added value to be performed by more competent employees. You need to take the time to assess the project’s repercussions for employees and manage the change proactively.

In short, sooner or later, you’ll need to look into the repercussions of industry 4.0 on your industry and business. How you undertake the process is up to you.

The experts at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton can provide support for various aspects: reviewing your business processes, selecting an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or using advanced analytics for your data, so that you can undertake the industry 4.0 shift while optimizing resource engagement and the return on invested capital.