ontario news watch

Quebec premier warns of bigger deficit due to surge in spending on teachers

MONTREAL — Premier François Legault says the major investments in education his government has pledged will go a long way to supporting Quebec’s teachers and students — and prompt a bigger budget deficit.

At a news conference Sunday, Legault said agreements recently hammered out with unions will create 5,000 new permanent teaching jobs and allow for 4,000 more educational assistants.

He says the deals ensure that new teachers will receive a starting salary of $65,000 per year, while more experienced educators will see a salary cap of $109,000, up from $92,000 currently.

But the premier says the spending boost also means the deficit will be “a lot higher than expected” this year, as the government plans to avoid service cuts or income tax hikes.

Members of the last teachers union to vote on a tentative agreement approved the contract earlier this month.

That brought an end to a months-long squabble between the Quebec government and the more than 66,000-member FAE, which was the only union to launch an unlimited general strike during last year’s public sector bargaining.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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