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The business forum | A blow too hard to take for our companies



The business section of The Press gives space to an op-ed from a business person. Entrepreneurs and managers, the floor is yours. Raise questions, share your experiences, propose solutions, express your opinions.

At the beginning of December, the Quebec government tabled, as promised, its bill no.oh 2 to limit rate increases for Hydro-Québec customers. The measure, which is consistent with the anti-inflation shield presented during the election campaign, would limit the increase to 3%. And for good reason, the objective is quite laudable and appreciated in times of inflation and economic tightening.

If this is good news for families and citizens who need to breathe, the reality is quite different for businesses that are excluded from the bill. If the latter is adopted as is, the rate increase would be between 4.2% and 6.4% on 1er April 2023. For an employer, whether small or large, this represents thousands, even millions of dollars, which will have to be absorbed in one way or another.

Businesses are already overwhelmed with labor shortages, unstable supply chains, rising transportation and material costs, and fierce international competition. In some cases, rising operating costs force them to pass the bill on to consumers. In other cases, profit margins have shrunk. In addition, many employers are emerging from a pandemic with heavy debts that they have not yet managed to pay off.

While we are facing a lot of economic uncertainty, is this really the right time to impose such an increase on them?

Is it possible to reduce the rate increase proposed for businesses, to consider a deferment or, at the very least, a gradual increase that is reasonable?

Inflation is obviously a complex problem that affects everyone, including the government. It forces us to make heartbreaking choices. But one thing is certain, the inflationary spiral seems to be slowing down.

As the special consultations on Bill 2 approach, the message from the Quebec business community must be heard: we need predictability, certainty and sustainability! Investment decisions and strategies are based on these essential components to achieve our growth.

In an analysis presented last December to evaluate the economic prosperity of Quebec, the Conseil du patronat gave the grade of C for the business environment. The tax burden is already heavy on entrepreneurs. We can do better, we must do better. Can we give them a chance to succeed in Quebec?

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