The single rate of the school tax: a beautiful gift for the rich

Philippe Langlois

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The imposition of a single rate of the school tax by the government Legault will present thousands of dollars in the pockets of many canadians, including the more affluent. The Desmarais family will benefit from an annual saving of more than 111 000 $ only for its domain Sagard in the Charlevoix region.


The manor house of the domaine Sagard is located on the territory of the Commission scolaire des Rives-du-Saguenay. The Desmarais family will save more than 111 000 $ in school taxes for this remains with the project of François Legault.

  •  Value: 59 268 500 $
  •  School tax before the drop: 169 054,92 $
  •  School tax after the drop: 57 605,03 $
  •  Difference: – 111 449,89 $

The boss of the empire Power Corporation, Paul Desmarais Jr, will also be awarded another exemption in the amount of $ 45,000 for its properties of Magog and Stanstead, including a golf club.

Also in Stanstead, the ex-chairman of the board of directors of Power Financial (a subsidiary of Power Corporation), Robert Gratton, will benefit from a reduction of $ 25,000 annually for its prestigious estate valued at $ 30.4 million.

With its bill filed in early December, the government Legault promises to reduce, within four years, the school tax at the lower rate in force in the province, about for 10.54 cents per $ 100 of assessment (the first $ 25,000 you are exempt).

For the Commission scolaire des Rives-du-Saguenay, where is the domain Sagard, the reduction will be approximately 20 cents per $ 100 of assessment, as in the Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec.

Quebec will compensate for the shortfall created by this measure, estimated at between$ 700 Million and$ 900 Million, with no increase in taxes nor cut in services.

The cabinet of the minister of Finance, Eric Girard argues that the amount will be offset by expenditure reductions in the State of quebec, as well as by an increase of the effectiveness of the programs.

“Everything is in the fiscal framework”, highlights his press officer, Fanny Beaudry-Campeau.

Westmount in the top of the list

The Desmarais and their loved ones will not be the only Québec-rich to benefit from the draft bill tabled by the minister in Girard, even if the amounts are less than impressive.

For example, the business man Richard Stern, who acquired the manor of Celine Dion on the island Gagnon in Laval, will see his bill reduced by almost $ 12,000 per year.

Billionaire Stephen R. Bronfman, he will be able to save $ 13,800 over his property in Westmount.

Moreover, the value of the houses ensures that the savings will be much more important in Westmount and elsewhere in the province (see map).

In other regions, the decrease is minimal due to a rate already low, while the owners of the Laurentians already pay the lowest rate in Québec.

Some large companies will also receive a boost from the government caquiste.

This is the case for Alcan and Alcoa, which will see their bill decrease of$ 1.3 Million for their five facilities in the province.


For the researcher of the Institute of research and socio-economic information, Julia Posca, the extent of the government Legault is a “tax, regressive”.

“The more the income of a household is, the higher the weight of the school tax on its finances shrinking’, ” she says.

This approach “will contribute to inequalities between households in quebec,” says the researcher.

In the minister’s office Girard, it was confirmed that “the rate will not vary, regardless of the size or the value of the house”. The details of the bill will be studied by a parliamentary committee, said the press attaché to the minister.

“Doubly unfair” and unnecessary, criticism of the opposition

Before the revelations of the Journal, the opposition parties have shot red cannon balls on the standardization of the school tax promised by the government Legault.

“These are the ultra-rich who will benefit from the major part of the reductions of the tax. I think that these people do not need a tax cut school,” says the critic of the parti québecois in the matter of finance, Martin Ouellet.

During the election campaign, prime minister Francois Legault promised to put money back into the pockets of Quebecers, ” he recalls.

“We did not think it was in the pockets of the families who stay at Sagard, the family Beaudoin or the Bronfman family”, quips Mr. Ouellet.

Paid for by the taxpayers

Without pronouncing itself on the specific cases cited by The Newspaper, the liberal critic for finance qualify also this tax measure was unfair.

“There would have been many other measures, more equitable, rather than a decline in school tax,” said Carlos Leitao, referring in particular to a reduction of the tax on the income.

“We can very well target a tax relief of the tax on the lowest income, for example $ 30,000 or $ 40,000 per year, he adds. It is more fair and it affects a greater number of people.”

Worse, the taxes of all Quebecers will be used to compensate for the shortfall, estimated at between 700 and 900 M$, remember the ex-minister.

“The government will take the revenues from all taxpayers to compensate for the decrease in the tax burden on the wealthiest taxpayers who have large properties,” he said. Therefore, it is doubly inequitable.”

Under the government Couillard, the liberals were standardized, the rate of the school tax within a same administrative region.

However, the reform aimed to put an end to the “shopping” between the commissions scolaires francophones and anglophones, ” said Mr. Leitao.

Tenants forgotten

In addition, the opposition parties point out that the measure announced by the government caquiste will not benefit to the tenants, while about 40 % of Quebecers live in the housing.

“We’re going to push for there to be a way for the government to benefit the tenants of this decline in the school tax, ensures the critical solidarity in matter of finance, Vincent Marissal. Because they are a lot of people who will not benefit.”

However, the “first choice” of Québec solidaire, is to “tear up this bill”, he said.


  •  Nord-du-Québec: 205,84 $
  •  Lanaudière: 332,45 $
  •  Mauricie: 256,34 $
  •  North Shore: 154,11 $
  •  The laurentians: 0 $
  •  Chaudière-Appalaches: 202,50 $
  •  Îles-de-la-Madeleine: 175,87 $
  •  Abitibi-Témiscamingue: 47,52 $
  •  Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean: 299,37 $
  •  The gaspé peninsula: 166,60 $
  •  Ottawa: 64,50 $
  •  Quebec, Cap.-National): 69,07 $
  •  Bas-Saint-Laurent: 187,49 $
  •  Westmount: 1 041,52 $
  •  Mont-Royal: 687,08 $
  •  Senneville: 592,31 $
  •  Laval: 379,13 $
  •  Montreal: 294,01 $
  •  Centre-du-Québec: 279,33 $
  •  Montérégie: 185,23 $
  •  Estrie: 158,46 $

How will save the ministers rich?

François Legault

3005 $

Pierre Fitzgibbon


► 2159 $ (2 residences)

 Lionel Carmant


► 2431 $ (3 residences)

André Lamontagne


► 1370 $

Eric Girard


 ► 2001 $

Christian Dubé


 ► 975 $