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As part of the mandate you entrusted to us, we sought to assess the tax assistance measures under their various aspects by adopting a constructive and forward-looking approach.

We did so with the support of studies and analyses undertaken for that purpose, as well as consultations during which we met with more than 120 companies and organizations throughout Québec. These meetings were enriched by a little more than 160 briefs, which is a good indication of the interest sparked by our work.

While the consultation was being carried out, an at times bitter debate was developing between businesses in certain regions concerning the impact and relevance of tax assistance for the resource regions. While the climate in which tax assistance for the new economy was discussed was less charged, positions were defended with just as much vigour.

In both cases, we arrived at recommendations which, we trust, will be useful in laying solid foundations for future government initiatives in favour of the resource regions and the new economy.

As we indicate in the report’s conclusion, these recommendations form an integrated whole. They flow from an overall vision of the assistance granted to the resource regions and the new economy.

More than that: we suggest that these recommendations form the core of future development policies for the resource regions and assistance policies for the new economy.

Indeed, we propose initiatives that could apply to Québec’s economy as a whole to support private investment - one of the strategic keys to the creation of wealth and Québec’s future prosperity.

Naturally, the decision lies with the government.

The title of our report is “On Equal Terms”. The approach we propose and the resulting recommendations seek to put the Québec companies concerned “on equal terms” in the great battle of competitiveness on markets.

Concerning tax assistance for the resource regions, we wanted to define the best ways to provide sustainable assistance for companies in outlying regions that must deal with the handicap of remoteness.

As for tax assistance for the new economy, the aim is rather to provide companies in Québec with the means to deal on an equal footing with competitors from elsewhere that receive substantial state support.

The title of our report also refers directly to the constant battle facing companies, in an economy that has never been so open and where competition has never been so keen.

We are convinced that Québec companies very well equipped to claim their place and grow. We are also convinced that appropriate support measures can help them achieve solid and sustainable growth if the emphasis is put on efficiency and productivity. That is one of the fundamental principles on which we based our reflections and formulated our recommendations.

Robert Gagné

Task Force on Tax Assistance
for the Resource Regions and the New Economy

February 7, 2008

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