We are a collective of foundations that brings together 17 philanthropic foundations mobilized around a common concern for inequalities in Quebec, and driven by a desire to help reduce them.

By promulgating the Act to combat poverty and social exclusion voted unanimously by the National Assembly on December 13, 2002, and accompanying it with a National Strategy and action plans, the government of Quebec wanted all of Quebec society to mobilize around this objective. The current Premier of Quebec, François Legault, was also involved. The adoption of this law was seen as an important step forward and a bold commitment on the part of parliamentarians. We could be proud of this desire to leave no one behind.

Twenty years have already passed. The Government of Quebec has expressed its desire to adopt an updated action plan by next fall to enable it to meet the challenges posed by the fight against poverty and social exclusion.

In addition to the private meetings currently held by the Minister responsible for Social Solidarity and Community Action with several social actors, we believe that the very nature of such a policy benefits from being part of an open process allowing all organizations that feel challenged by this issue to participate. As a collective of foundations, we have every hope that the government will launch public consultations that will allow citizens and civil society, including community organizations, to contribute to the discussions leading to the development of a new plan of action. We are also convinced that the solutions to be implemented will bring lasting results by calling on the expertise of these various civil society actors.

The pre-budget consultations of the Quebec Minister of Finance having been completed, we see the tabling of the next budget as an opportunity to officially launch such a process.

It should be remembered that income and wealth inequalities have been steadily increasing for more than 25 years. Despite all the work already done, too many people and families have seen their living conditions deteriorate in recent years. The news reminds us daily that it is increasingly difficult for a growing number of them to find affordable housing. The grocery budget keeps growing. The cost of living is rising visibly. This deterioration in living conditions is more marked for some people due to various factors such as age, disability, gender, single parenthood or ethnic origin, among others.

The current economic situation, with an inflation rate not seen in 40 years, is putting increasing pressure on essential expenses (housing, food, travel, etc.). According to a Léger poll conducted from August 25 to September 2 on behalf of Centraide of Greater Montreal, 85% of the population said they felt financial anxiety, with a higher proportion among people with modest incomes. Poverty and inequality are on the rise. Many people feel financial pressure. The lights are red.

At the beginning of the current mandate, we expressed our hope that the government would use all the levers at its disposal to reduce inequalities, and that it would measure the effects. We reiterate this wish.

As foundations, we are called upon to do our part to tackle the effects of inequality. It is our common responsibility. To reduce them, however, it is the government that plays the leading role.

A few hours from the tabling of a new budget by the government of Quebec, we invite the Minister of Finance and the entire government of Quebec to fully measure the effect that budgetary and tax measures can have on the effective reduction of inequalities. .

Thanks to the policies and programs introduced over the past few decades, Québec still compares favorably with the other Canadian provinces and other countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. However, faced with the inflationary rise of poverty and social inequalities, we ask that everything be done to ensure that Quebec remains a society where inequalities remain the lowest compared to other Canadian provinces.