As an investment promotion agency, Montréal International welcomes certain measures set out in Québec’s new Economic Policy: Putting Jobs First, announced on October 7, 2013. The policy contains several items of good news for investment attraction.
Firstly, the Québec government has decided to use the electricity surplus to attract investment. It is making 50 TWh available under the investment–job pricing offer. This rate will apply to new investments requiring loads of 15 MW or more in data centres, information technology, natural resource transformation, and manufacturing of components for transportation electrification, renewable energy systems and green technology. According to an article in Le Devoir newspaper on Tuesday, October 8, (Electricity to be sold at discount to attract investors), “the offered rate will be similar to the rate provided under special contracts – around 3 cents/kWh or $30 million/TWh – and will be gradually increased to the standard industrial rate, rate L – from 4.5 to 5 cents/kWh or $45 to $50 million/TWh – after the first ten years.”
Secondly, the government has also announced changes to the C2i tax holiday for major investment projects. Implemented in the 2013-2014 budget, C2i is a ten-year tax holiday that targets investment projects worth a minimum of $300 million in the areas of data hosting and processing, manufacturing, wholesaling and storage. The new Québec economic policy announces the reduction of the minimum investment amount eligible for the tax holiday for major investments from $300 million to $200 million.
Thirdly, the improvements to the ESSOR program and the economic development fund are excellent news. However, the improvement to the ESSOR program was not detailed in the document. With respect to the economic development fund, the government has decided to inject $50M to attract more major investment projects in the electric transportation sector.
Lastly, the extension of funding for clusters to 2017-2018 and the upcoming announcement of Québec’s provincial research and innovation policy ($581M over 3 years), industrial policy ($709M over 3 years), foreign trade development plan ($82M over 3 years) and transportation electrification strategy ($516M over 3 years) should enable the metropolitan region to pursue its development and continue attracting high value-added businesses.
Francis Langlois, Analyst, Economic Research Division