An interesting report came out on Monday regarding Quebec and the social welfare state. More than any other jurisdiction in Canada, Quebec has opted to become make the welfare state a larger and larger part of daily life.
Unless you live there it is tough to fully realize how much the government has worked its way into every nook and cranny of daily life.
A Québec family portrait by Paul Malvern, Andrea Mrozek and Catherine Benesch lays out what this all means in a province with a low birth rate, high debt and high taxes.
“If the Quebec experiment in social engineering is ever to unravel, the cause will almost certainly involve fiscal woes flowing from the constant need to refill government coffers, combined with the same low fertility levels experienced by most Canadian jurisdictions.”
While the report finds some positive trends such as a birth rate that has increased, but is still not near replacement level, there is plenty to worry about.
Here are some of the worrisome trends highlighted in the report.
Tax rates are high: A single income family with two children between
the ages of six and 17 earning $60,000 a year will have a tax bill of $15,437
in Québec—compared to $12,429 in Ontario and $11,193 in Alberta. The
difference becomes even more pronounced for a similar family making
$80,000—which would have to pay $23,164 in Québec, compared to $19,055
in Ontario and $17,593 in Alberta.
Marriage rates are low: Canada’s marriage rate (the number of marriages per
1000 people) was 4.4 in 2008, as compared to 2.9 in Québec.
Cohabitation rates are high relative to other provinces and countries:
For example, in Canada, 18.4% of all couples living together are not married
compared to 34.6% of Québec couples.
Québecers are increasingly dependent on government to raise their
children: The creation of a provincial daycare system created a spike in
children who are in institutional daycare from just above 10% in 1994 to over
50% in 2006.
A “demographic winter” is coming: Québec is ageing more quickly than
other Canadian provinces. Estimates show that by 2031, each Québec
dependent will be supported by only 1.6 people in the active age group
(between 15 and 64).