Quebecers Say The $500 Government Handout Isn't Enough

A survey found at least $1,700 is needed to offset the rising cost of living.

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
​Customers buy produce at Jean-Talon Market.

Customers buy produce at Jean-Talon Market.

A majority of Quebecers say an impending $500 tax credit from the government isn't enough to compensate for inflation. 81% of residents need payments of at least $1,700 to offset rising living costs this year, according to data from personal finance site Hardbacon.

Just over 500 Quebecers aged 18 and up responded to the company last weekend, many questioning who would receive the government funds.

Individuals who make under $100,000 and file a 2021 income tax return are eligible for the one-time cost of living refund. But eight in 10 Quebecers said that plan is unfair.

Around 64% felt low-income residents should be prioritized for compensation, while 16% said people in higher income brackets who pay more in taxes deserve the payout.

The new data also showed how residents plan to spend their one-time credit.

Just under half plan to use their cheques to pay down debt, with credit cards and past-due bills at the top of the list. The money is least likely to go toward mortgage payments, perhaps because surging house prices have decreased affordability over the past year.

Quebecers were evenly split when it comes to investing or saving the government handout. Those leaning toward investment said they'd focus on exchange-traded funds (43.7%) that offer a DIY approach to buying and exchanging company stocks, followed by Canadian stocks (22.3%), American equities (4.9%), mutual funds (7%), bonds (3.9%), cryptocurrency (4.9%), and gold (1.9%).

It is worth mentioning, though, that Hardbacon being an investment app could mean respondents to their survey may be skewed towards considering investment as a more viable use of the funds.

Less than 20% of respondents plan to spend their cash outright. But those who do said they'd likely prioritize grocery shopping (53%) or will spend their credit at the gas pump (15%).

Around 3% of Quebecers said they'd allocate the funds for a night out at a bar or restaurant, while the rest say they'd use it to buy booze (2%) — hopefully not for consumption all at once or to help forget the steep rise in living costs.

Sofia Misenheimer
MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Sofia Misenheimer is an award-winning writer, editor and former radio journalist with a passion for finding hidden gems in the city.