By Dian Cohen
The federal government and each of the provinces and territories have provided us with their spending proposals for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. For us in Quebec, the CAQ has committed to spend $15,769 per person; the feds have committed to spend $11,476 per person. In return for spending $27,245 on each of us, we can expect to get back something through the programs they’ve decided we either need or want. Programs like healthcare, social services, education. Indeed, in Quebec, more than half the expected spending is to deliver healthcare, social services and education. The next biggest item in the spending array is paying interest on the debt they’ve accumulated because they’re spending more than they’re taking in — $9 billion more.
It is comforting to know that if you are seriously ill and make it into the healthcare system, the treatment you get is first-rate and will not bankrupt you financially. The service we get for regular, routine care throughout the year is less than satisfactory. The service we get for preventative care is even less so.
Social service programs deal with specific issues: Support for independent seniors; support for people with physical disabilities, impairments related to hearing, vision, language, speech and motor activities; Intellectual impairments and autism spectrum disorder; youth with difficulties; support for people with alcoholism, drug addiction and compulsive gambling; support for people with mental health issues. The commentary from associations and families looking for support in these areas leaves much to be desired.