The government will also continue to promote good practices in sustainable development by rewarding actions that are good for the environment and applying the polluter pays principle. In this regard, Budget 2023-2024 provides approximately $23 million over two years to promote agri-environmental practices.
Rewarding good practices is a key measure in the 2020-2030 Sustainable Agriculture Plan. It is designed to recognize good agricultural practices that focus on achieving results and go beyond regulatory requirements. Since the initiative was launched in February 2022, nearly 1 800 businesses have adopted sustainable agricultural practices.
- The government wants more businesses to commit to applying eligible practices, such as reducing by at least half the overall risk from pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals.
Critical Minerals and Batteries
- In 2023-2024, the 12.3% increase in expenditures is mainly due to the increase in the cost of tax credits and the one-time increase in expenditures related to financial initiatives, particularly those for the development of the battery industry.
- To draw large-scale investment projects to Québec, particularly those in the battery sector, it is important to provide businesses with large industrial sites.
To help attract large-scale projects to Québec, the government is providing $40.0 million over four years.
This amount will be used to carry out land characterization studies, engineering and pre-project work, and to ensure the sustainable development of industrial sites.
Furthermore, $135.5 million has been earmarked in the 2023-2033 Québec Infrastructure Plan for the development of industrial land.
Cybersecurity, Digital Transformation and Cloud Technology
- The Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital Transformation (MCN) will have a budget of $173 million compared to $134 million last fiscal year.
- In Budget 2022-2023, the government announced the launch of the cybersecurity enhancement program (PRC), which represented an investment of $100.0 million over two years, in order to ensure that information is protected and guarded against cyberthreats.
Additional mandatory protection measures need to be implemented to counter the ever-increasing number of cyberattacks. As such, the government is providing $70.0 million over three years starting in 2024-2025 to extend the PRC and roll out cybersecurity projects across public bodies.
- The government continues to promote the culture of innovation and research by enhancing support measures and creating new research chairs in Québec studies.
Educational institutions generate efficiency gains for themselves by consolidating their information resources and migrating to cloud computing.
For this purpose, Budget 2023-2024 includes investments of $91 million by 2027-2028 to enhance the culture of innovation in higher education and support the adoption of technological advances of which $45 million will go to supporting the transition of information resources to cloud computing. $5 million are budgeted for this fiscal year.
Public organizations in the education and higher education network are required to complete their migration to cloud computing by December 31, 2025.
- To help businesses step up their digitization efforts, the government is implementing the digital shift offensive, which is supporting many organizations and businesses in various sectors of the Québec economy in their efforts to increase their productivity.
To date, the digital shift offensive has supported 25 initiatives that will support more than 15 000 companies in digital transformation projects.
To continue this initiative, the government is providing an additional $50.0 million over two years.
- In Budget 2023-2024, the government is earmarking $240.2 million by 2027-2028
- $173.7 million is provided for by 2027-2028 to support data access and digital transformation in the education network.
Moreover, the continuing digital shift in schools gives youth new ways to learn, communicate, share, create and collaborate.
In parallel, investments will be made in digital network management. These investments will make it possible to migrate the network to the cloud and bolster its cybersecurity posture.
- $66.5 million to increase the efficiency of the network and of the Ministère de l’Éducation. $11.7 million for this fiscal year.
- $5.0 million over two years to develop leading-edge expertise within the Ministère de la Cybersécurité et du Numérique by calling on scientists and experts in automation and artificial intelligence from universities and research centres. These investments represent the first step toward using such practices and technologies in the public service and leveraging their full potential.
Green Technology and Innovation
- The government is also providing $30 million to support the green transition and decarbonization of the economy. This money will support businesses that develop and commercialize clean technologies.
- In February 2022, the government unveiled the first two Québec innovation zones:
- DistriQ, located in Sherbrooke, in the quantum sciences and technological applications sector, which will allow Québec to host a state-of-the-art IBM quantum computer, the first in Canada, in the coming months;
- Technum Québec, located in Bromont, in the digital technologies sector.
The government is providing $100.0 million over five years to continue creating innovation zones.
- Investments of $1.0 billion over six years are provided to improve housing affordability. $650 million of which will be allocated to the completion of over 5 250 social and affordable housing units throughout Québec, as well as ensure the preservation of aging housing units.
Québec has significant public infrastructure needs. To meet them, the government is announcing an increase of $7.5 billion over 10 years under the Québec Infrastructure Plan (QIP), totaling $150 billion in infrastructure expenditure under the QIP 2023-2033 plan.
- 60% will be allocated to infrastructure maintenance, while 40% will go towards new infrastructure
- $22.2 billion in Education sector infrastructure
- $300 million in Sports and recreational infrastructure
Nearly $20 million is also being provided to support upgrades to municipal dams.
To further the implementation of the action plan for the construction sector and increase productivity in the construction industry, the government is encouraging and providing support to businesses in the sector to implement building information modelling.
Building information modelling (BIM) is a process used to increase performance in terms of costs and timelines. To this end, the government is providing $11.0 million over three years for the deployment of its BIM roadmap.
Rural Economic Development
- To contribute to the prosperity of the regions, in Budget 2023-2024, the government is providing initiatives totalling over $1.4 billion over five years and aimed at:
- supporting the growth of the bio-food sector; $813M ($40.5M this fiscal year)
- continuing the actions for better connectivity; $109M, 55.6($55.6M this fiscal year)
- harnessing the value of Québec’s subsurface minerals. $10M, ($5M this fiscal year)
- There is no mention of the Roulez Vert Program which offered a $7,000 return to Quebecers who buy electric vehicles.
- $722 million over six years to ensure continued mobility of people and supply to communities, as well as to invest in effective and safe land transportation infrastructure. Of this amount, $400 million will support the recovery of public transit, while $200 million will be used to support the municipal sector in maintaining and improving the local road network.
- $55.0 million over three years to support innovation in the transportation sector, particularly research and development partnerships and technology showcases.
- $2.2 billion over four years (including $400 million this fiscal year) to support public transit bodies whose ridership has dropped compared to pre-pandemic numbers.