Immigration, cannabis and composting: the challenges of 2018

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
The integration of immigrants has become a challenge of quebec municipalities with a shortage of labour.

Val-d’or to Rivière-à-Pierre, and Montebello, in the Saguenay, which folders will mobilize the municipalities in 2018? A non-exhaustive review, and in the disorder of what is expected.

The travel by plane. Did you know that the cost of the plane ticket for a regional flight is 55 % higher in Quebec than elsewhere in Canada ? Thus, when we take a plane to Chibougamau, the price of the ticket is the same, that we want to go to Montreal or… Beijing. Horse of battle of the Union of municipalities of Quebec (UMQ), the matter will be raised in February in Lévis, at a Summit of regional air transport.


Various solutions are on the table, including tax incentives for airlines willing to serve this challenging market where Air Canada has a virtual monopoly.


The income of the cannabis. Elected municipal officials have repeated in all forums before the Holidays : they want their share of the tax revenues from cannabis. In a way, they say, to finance, in particular the pressure that the legalization will have on local police forces, municipal courts, etc, We are talking about the third of income taxes. A request to which we want answers “very early in the year,” warns the president of the Union des municipalités du Québec and mayor of Drummondville is Alexandre Cusson.


Immigration. The shortages of manpower in certain sectors, such as more and more municipalities are involved in the recruitment of workers and immigrants.


Quebec city, Régis Labeaume has multiplied efforts to attract French. In the Abitibi, it organizes tours of the region for immigrants in montreal and elsewhere, there is a rival imagination to offer gifts to the newcomers.


“This is a problem that does not stop to grow,” notes the mayor Cusson, of which the city is hit by the shortage, with an unemployment rate hovering around 4 %.


During this time, companies recruit workers to the four corners of the world, which leaves municipalities in the face of new concerns.


“When you have a hundred of the immigrants who arrive in a region, it is necessary to take the time to organize the integration and it takes resources,” notes the outgoing president of the Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM), Richard Lehoux.


Access to the Internet. In the land of his farm in the Beauce region, Mr. Richard Lehoux can not practically communicate with the outside world. Here, as elsewhere, access to cellular networks and high-speed Internet is, at best, deficient.


“That can’t be in 2018, we still ask this kind of questions here “, he noted.


Before Christmas, the government of Quebec has promised investment of 290 million for high-speed Internet access. We think well be able to plug 96 829 homes in rural areas within five years. A process that the FQM plans to monitor near while peeping from the side Ottawa, which is responsible for its side of the access to the cellular network. “It is a record that is far from being resolved,” notes Mr. Lehoux. It will be necessary to push on the federal level. “


The peels of banana. The hour of choice has arrived for many cities in terms of waste management. Starting in 2022, it will be forbidden to bury the organic matter in the soil. The municipalities that have not yet done so must therefore choose how they will take to recover our peels of banana and develop them. Only ? Through the MRC ? Or inside a collection ? And what of the technology ? Misera-t-one on composting, such as Levis and Victoriaville, or on the construction of a centre for biogas, such as Quebec city and Laval ?


The referendums. It reminds us that cities have obtained the right to abolish the referendum in 2017. The government, however, has also been forced to replace the referendum by another thing to consult with citizens. The elect will therefore this year develop ” Policies of public consultations “. What form will this take ? The citizens have-they really have a political weight in the end ?


Officials more efficient. In addition to the abolition of the referendum, the municipalities have gained more power with the new Law on the governments of nearby (122). Remain to apply it, now, ” warns Alexandre Cusson.


“For example, we will ensure that when a department is preparing a policy with respect to municipalities, there will be the reflex for us to meet beforehand. “


This will there by a better efficiency ? Will they be able to react more quickly to the requests of citizens ? Yes, replied Mr. Cusson recalling that before the new law, the cities had to request, for example, the authorization of the ministry of Transportation to change the speed limit on a local street.


The housing. In 2017, the government has promised a thorough reform of the program that funds the construction of social housing in the cities.


Originally, AccèsLogis paid one-third of each project ; the mortgage, a second third party ; and the municipalities had to complete, but the rise in construction costs, in particular, has created all sorts of distortions in the program. In recent years, the government has therefore cut in the funding of new projects for the benefit of direct payments to tenants (rent supplements).


What is the minister of municipal Affairs, Martin Coiteux ? In a report, his colleague Norbert Morin offered in may to subsidize private property owners to they rent out their homes for less. Dare we address this issue before the elections this fall ?


Elections. Because obviously all the issues raised above will be dependent on the context pre-election. This, in fact, that Mr. Lehoux that 2018 will be a year in two parts, one of which will be in a mode called ” campaign “.


“We will ask for specific commitments by each party. This is a great opportunity that we have, ” he says. In this regard, the Union of municipalities held in September a large ” summit city “, where the heads of parties will be invited to make commitments, ” said mayor Cusson. “In 2014, it had produced results, among other things, the recognition of governments of proximity. “