Our Engagement with the Québec Budget 2024-2025


On March 12th, our team was in Québec for the budget announcement. While we understand the budget was presented in a tight economic context, the lack of investment in employment services and programs targeted toward the English-speaking community left us concerned

Our Executive Director, Nicholas Salter, outlined these concerns in an op-ed in La Presse. 

“The prosperity of English-speaking Quebecers is essential to the future of the province’s economy. We represent nearly 16% of the Quebec workforce and almost a quarter of the unemployed. Yet, in its 2024-25 budget, the government failed to allocate new funding to employment services for some 700,000 English-speaking Quebecers in the workforce, a missed opportunity to boost Quebec’s productivity and strengthen a population that could become an engine of growth.” Nicholas Salter, Executive Director, Provincial Employment Roundtable.

You can read it here (French version only). 

Our pre-budget consultation brief

Our visit to Québec City for the budget announcement was the culmination of engagement work on the budget over the last few months. 

Earlier this year, we met with Minister Girard during a pre-budget consultation exercise. We also submitted a detailed brief to the provincial government. Our brief outlined the current economic and employment situation for English speakers and highlighted two main contributing factors to the community’s employability challenges. We also recommended investments that would help reverse these trends.

Issue 1: Lack of targeted employment services

A lack of targeted employment services was one of the leading employment barriers identified by English speakers in the labour market in a 2021 survey we conducted. In 2022-23, the Québec government spent over $1.5 billion on employment support measures for Quebecers. In 2021-2022, the Québec government spent over $888 million on employment support measures. Despite the prioritization of measures to deliver employment assistance to the public, approximately 3% of the funds for employment services and programs are currently being delivered to the English-speaking community through English-language groups. This represents roughly $7 million dedicated to the 699,015 English speakers, who represent 15.8% of the labour force. A lack of targeted employment services was one of the leading employment barriers identified by English speakers in the labour market in a 2021 survey we conducted.

Issue 2: French-language training for the workforce

Despite high rates of bilingualism (64.8%) among Québec’s English speakers, French language proficiency remains the largest barrier to employment.

Even English speakers who identify themselves as bilingual can still face challenges in the labour market if their French language skills are determined to be inadequate by employers. In certain cases, English speakers also report experiencing discrimination because of their mother tongue or accent. They can also experience internal barriers, such as a lack of confidence in communicating in French.


  1. An action plan for targeted employment services for English speakers is required; this plan’s objectives should be to reduce the friction to labour market integration for English speakers and increase their access to employment services. To ensure that services reach English speakers, English-language community organizations and employment program providers should be key stakeholders and funded with the capacity to deliver local programs directly within their communities across Québec.
  2. Efforts should be placed on developing targeted funding for workplace-integrated French-language training. This approach would be the most effective way to address linguistic barriers and provide graduates with the relevant language training they need to work in Québec post-graduation. 

You can read our detailed submission here. 

Looking forward

Despite our disappointment with the current budget, PERT remains steadfast in our resolve to research, develop, and advocate for policies that ensure all Quebecers can contribute fully to strengthening Québec’s economy.