Due to the pandemic, the Legault government is forced to slash $ 1.2 billion in its forecast of revenue from crown corporations for this year. Quebec now hopes to receive $ 3.6 billion.
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On Thursday, the government released a budget update taking into account the impacts of COVID-19 in recent months and its stimulus plan for the Quebec economy on its finances.
In public documents, we can see that the overall revenues from state companies like Loto-Quebec, the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) and Hydro-Quebec are expected to suffer until 2023.
In addition to the shortfall of $ 1.2 billion for the current fiscal year, Quebec has cut $ 201 million in its forecasts for 2021-2022 and $ 97 million for the following vintage. In total, nearly $ 1.5 billion will ultimately not end up in the government’s coffers.
The Ministry of Finance explains that it has to make this correction “due to the closure of Loto-Québec’s casinos and gaming halls in 2020-2021 as well as the decrease in electricity sales in Quebec and net exports from Hydro- Quebec during the three years ”.
The utility was also recently forced to increase its bad debt provisions by $ 35 million.
Quebec hopes to receive $ 1.74 billion from Hydro-Quebec this year, or $ 536 million less than forecast in last March’s budget.
As for Loto-Québec, it is the crown corporation that suffers the most. The government has revised its forecast downward by $ 891 million.
Remember that in the spring and this fall, due to lockdowns, Loto-Québec had to put almost all of its activities on hiatus. Today, only the Casino de Mont-Tremblant is still open.
Between April and September, Loto-Québec saw its profits plunge by 75% to reach $ 181 million.
On the SAQ side, the Legault government hopes to collect $ 1.12 billion this year, or $ 104 million less than expected. This decrease is justified by the decrease in sales in bars and restaurants.
Investissement Québec’s results should, however, offset part of the losses in 2020-2021 of other government corporations. The government indicates that it has increased its expectations by $ 83 million.
Quebec is also demanding more from its other businesses, namely the Pointe-Noire Railway and Port Company and Capital Financière agricole.
Forecast revenues of $ 3.6 billion from government enterprises for this year represent a decrease of 18.4% from the amounts paid in 2019-2020.
Forecast revenue from government enterprises in 2020-2021
- Hydro-Québec: $ 1.74 billion
- Loto-Québec: $ 481 million
- Société des alcools du Québec: $ 1.12 billion
- Investissement Québec: $ 214 million
- Quebec Cannabis Society: $ 50 million
- Others: $ 4 million
Total: $ 3.6 billion