Pack your bags, honey, we're moving to Oshawa -

Pack your bags, honey, we’re moving to Oshawa



QUEBEC – Quebecers can look forward to paying a new “health contribution” and a 15-per-cent sales tax in 2012 under the budget Finance Minister Raymond Bachand brought down yesterday.

“The initiatives we are announcing today will have little impact on Quebecers’ disposable income in 2010,” Bachand said. “They will take effect gradually, so that Quebecers can prepare for them.”


But the most innovative measure in a budget that trims government spending and increases what citizens pay will come July 1, when a $25 (per adult) health “contribution” comes into force. [ed’s note: yes, innovative. Just like IEDs and colonoscopies…]

This health contribution will increase to $100 in 2011 and $200 in 2012 and 2013, generating revenues of $945 million in each of those years.

Another proposal, still not finalized, calls for a health T4 for taxpayers on which they would list how often in the year they saw a doctor.

At $25 a visit, an adult taxpayer would pay $250 more for health care a year after 10 visits, with a ceiling of one per cent of taxable income.

Bachand hopes to collect another $500 million a year through this measure.

Coupled with the health contribution, these measures would mean an additional $1.45 billion to fund health care by 2013.

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Pack your bags, honey, we’re moving to Oshawa

  1. With Quebec finances the way they are, this is only the beginning. Quebec is the most indebted jurisdiction in Canada and the US. California is bad, for sure, but Quebec is worse, thanks in part to their lower GDP per capita, which will be going even lower now with these new taxes and incentives for companies to stay away from Quebec.

    • Well said. I'll add one thing: Quebec also has a dramatically ageing population. Once the baby boomers reach the end of their lifespan the population is going to plummet, and without incentives for others to move to Quebec the province is toast.

      Quebec can kiss her culture, political clout, and economic prowess goodbye. They're gone for good as of 2050.

      • Quebec's culture has survived much worse, Gaunilon. I agree though with the loss of political clout and economic prowess.

      • "Quebec can kiss her culture, political clout, and economic prowess goodbye. The decline is already obvious but they're gone for good as of 2050."

        Keep dreaming Gaunilon. You've come up with ridiculous statements before but this one takes the cake. Canada's entire population is ageing so growth is a nationwide problem. Like everyone else, Quebec will be relying on immigration for growth. Quebec will remain one of the most populous provinces in the country and, as such, will always have political clout and all that jazz.

        • You sure this one takes the cake? I mean, think of some of the other doosies I've put out there!

          Anyway, as I understand it your argument is that the problem is nationwide and so Quebec will do just fine. That's terrific. Do you honestly think that Quebec will be able to preserve her culture when immigrants with their own cultures are the majority?

          • "Do you honestly think that Quebec will be able to preserve her culture when immigrants with their own cultures are the majority?"

            How do you think they managed to preserve it against that of the ROC?

          • what is exactly quebecs culture…

            illetrism by more than half of athe adult population…

            a french way etter spoken by african and maghrebi immigrant, than the vast majority of pure-laines…

            you got to be kidding, quebecs culture…

            what a joke !!!

  2. A regressive fee plus additional costs for conditions over which you have no control, and which can only discourage early detection and treatment? Doesn't seem like a very good idea.

    • But does spending the province to the highest debt levels in the North America and continuing seem like a better idea? Or would you prefer a larger tax hike?

      • From that binary choice a general tax hike is the more sensible. User-type fees work well for some things, health care generally isn't one of them.

        • how would you know this ? User fees work quite well at hot dog and beer stands, and don't tell me the poor never rent videos

          • explained elsewhere in this very thread.

  3. Sales tax, fuel tax, yuck. Glad I left Montreal some years ago. Not so happy I end up in Ontario (these days).

    More importantly, kudos to Jean Charest for having the courage (or, more accurately, being fiscally cornered) to take a small step towards user fees. Ontario prefers to avoid the problem by stealth with the supposed payroll health tax. It spins up big revenue for the gov't, but does absolutely nothing to temper health care expectations.

    Good on Charest.

    • Glad I left Montreal some years ago. Not so happy I end up in Ontario (these days)

      Ditto. I also agree with the rest of your post. At least Charest has the guts to call it a tax. Don't forget McGuinty's health premium which is not a premium.

    • PS.. that said, he'd be even more courageous if he started to take on the run away bureaucracy and madness of government subsidies that permeate too many aspects of Quebec society. More courageous, but politically dead.

    • I'm liking the name you post under.

      • Places lived. YUL missing.

        • Interesting. I'm YyzLgaYxuYos. Lots of time in DFW also but fortunately (or unfortunately depending upon one's perspective) never lived there.

          But enough of this. I'm sure I am boring everyone who accidentally reads this post.

          • I like this game. I'm YulYyzDubYow.

  4. Why Oshawa? I think of Oshawa as CAW town – and being part of union would be just as bad as living in Quebec, by the sounds of it.

  5. tabarnac!

  6. What?! People paying for their OWN healthcare?! In Canada?! Can't be, the left would be up in arms!

    • We are already paying for our health care through income tax. Its not free or a gift from the Government. Quebecers are the most taxed people in all of North America. Just where is all that $$$ going????

  7. If I lived in Quebec, I would rather see higher taxes as well. The infrastructure for that already exists; if one establishes a seperate bureaucracy to collect health care fees, you effectively reduce the value of what you can collect.

    One of the reasons that Alberta stopped collecting health care "premiums" (I agree, they're not really premiums, but rather a regressive tax) is that the cost of collections, underwriting exceptions, etc., was costing quite a bit.

    • The advantage of user fees is that it discourages people from over-using the system. The way things are now, people go to ERs with hangnails. People get Xrays every time they have a bruise. It's the biggest problem with the Canadian and US systems.

      If someone thinks a 3$ user fee is too much to pay for their problem, then obviously they should not be using the system in the first place, user fees or no user fees. Of course, this reduction in frivolous use would never show up on a balance sheet. The real purpose of user fees is not to collect more money, it's to save money.

      • The way things are now, people go to ERs with hangnails.
        People get Xrays every time they have a bruise.
        It's the biggest problem with the Canadian and US systems.

        Got any figures or studies or whatever to support those claims?

    • Yeah, while the proposed Quebec "user-fee" is a start it has some real limitations.

      First, credit to the QueLibs for being clever by NOT creating more bureaucracy and for administering the user fee as part of the existing Que income tax system. Of course, by doing so they have largely broken the connection between the service and its price and thus greatly reduced the value of the price mechanism they've attempted to create. Also, based on what I see here in Ont., the real out of control spending exists at the hospital and diagnostic levels To some extent, attaching a price to primary care visits, helps to mitigate the diagnostic demand, but I suspect the impact will be negligible.

      What this particular price mechanism lacks, of course, is any incentive to increase supply. That's the real nut the Canadian health care system will have to address if it to avoid a total collapse in the coming decades.

      So, while the Que scheme looks more like a user fee than the current Ont. "premium", I'm thinking it will not have a meaningful negative impact on demand.

      Hope the Que. government and perhaps even Health Canada monitor the impact of the price mechanism on patient behaviour. It's a start.

    • And the disadvantage of user fees is that it provides a disincentive to visit a doctor on a regular basis, which means that serious conditions are not identified until it becomes much more expensive to treat. So, not much saving there!

      IF people are going to the ER to get a hangnail treated (which I doubt, btw!) it may well be because they don't have access to either a family doctor or any other health service such as could be easily provided by an RN. And it's not "people" who order X-Rays for a bruise, it's doctors, if in fact that happens. I like to presume they know what they're doing.

      I'd really like to see some reliable statistics on the "frivolous use" of medical services. I would guess it would be less than 5%. The fact that SOME people may "abuse" the system does not, in my mind, justify limiting access to those that DON'T "abuse the system.

      • serious conditions are not identified until it becomes much more expensive to treat

        Studies have shown this is a fallacy, that it's more expensive for people to go in for preventative checks, because the vast majority of such checks lead to nothing. It does not save money to see the doctor more frequently. On average, it costs more, which is logical. The only way it might save more is if Canadians were very unhealthy, but th reality is most of us are fine and that most preventative checks end up showing nothing to be concerned about.

        • Yeah, but you still CAN'T know tests and doctor's hours yield nothing UNLESS you do the tests! What, exactly, are you proposing we do…not do any testing at all? How do you determine who needs the testing? How do you determine the validity of "the rare case"? This does not seem logical, does it?

          • Nothing you've said disputes what I've said.

            I am not saying people should not do early testing.

            I am simply rejecting your claim that doing early testing saves money.

            Additionally, from my own memory, I recally that something like 50% of cases in ERs should not be in ERs, according to the doctors that run them. They are non-emergency or simple cases that should be handled by GPs, or simple colds and flus for which people should not bother to see anyone at all.

            So I believe there are a large number of savings to be had by deterring people from frivolous use of medical services.

          • "…something like 50% of cases in ERs should not be in ERs, according to the doctors that run them." I think that's quite plausible, actually. But if the only access to health care for people is ERs, that's what they're going to use. A LOT of people don't have GPs, it's one of the problems with the health care system, too many med school graduates go into specialization rather than general practice.

            I would be in favour of stand-alone clinics, open 24-7, staffed by maybe one doctor(per shift) and several RNs to handle the routine cases and make the call with respect to further immediate care. But I'm pretty sure the doctors won't go for that, even if it does reduce the load on ERs.

    • I live in Quebec. I give 50% of my income in taxes! His this a good line to attracked more ritch people in Quebec. NOT And I looking for moving in Alberta BC or Ontario.

  8. "Bachand hopes to collect another $500 million a year through this measure"

    Which doesn't account for the spending increases that will take place at the same time. I just think that it would have made more sense to just raise taxes as opposed to putting in all those fees.

  9. Some info about spending on health care versus age. Some other interesting tidbits in there as well.

    I gathered that if we want to get serious about reducing health care spending we probably shouldn't focus on people who visit their doc (or even the ER, for that matter) for a runny nose or a hangnail.

  10. Nice!!

    Please, do not hesitate and move to Ontario!! (and try to bring most of your friends with you)

    There you can live your life in English, stop hearing those damn Quebekers complaining and hail to the Queen as much as you want.

    In addition to saving on taxes, you'll save on entertainment expenses as well, as cultural life in Ontario can be quite bland.

    I always hear people saying "Quebekers should stop complaining and leave already!", well, right back at ya!

  11. Please do Patriquin