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Highlights 2News

Connor Lalande
Quebec September 8, 2023
A study released by the Provincial Employment Roundtable (PERT) is challenging stereotypical beliefs on the supposed affluence of English speaking Quebecers.
According to the study, entitled A Snapshot of Poverty Among Quebec’s English-speaking Communities, English speakers within Quebec are more likely to live in poverty then their French-speaking counterparts.
The study found 10 per cent of English-speakers were living in poverty compared to 5.8 per cent of French-speakers. While English-speaking Quebecers only make up 14.9 per cent of Quebec’s population, they make up 23 per cent of Quebecers living in poverty.
Wage disparities have widened over the past five years, the report says, with Quebecers who speak English as their primary language having a median after-tax income that is $2,800 lower than that of their francophone counterparts.
In the studies overview, PERT argues that its statistical findings demonstrate that the longstanding belief that English-speaking Quebecers are more affluent than French-speaking Quebecers is inaccurate.
“It’s important for all of Quebec society to be aware of the economic challenges being faced by Quebec’s English-speaking community, and that the old stereotypes no longer hold,” said Nicholas Salter, Executive Director of PERT.
“Language can be a hot-button topic, but it is something we need to take into consideration when looking at poverty in Quebec,” Salter added.“It is in Quebec’s best interest to create conditions that allow all Quebecers to contribute to the economic prosperity of our province. If we are going to tackle the labour market shortage, we need to tap into the full potential of our workforce, and that includes English speakers.”
“These findings highlight the need for the Quebec government to adopt a linguistic perspective when analyzing poverty in the province and examining the links between language, employment, and poverty,” a press release announcing the study said. “By integrating a linguistic lens, the Quebec government could better address the specific disparities faced by linguistic minority communities and contribute to the goal of poverty eradication in Quebec.”
PERT is a non-profit organization that “aims to address the employment and employability challenges facing Quebec’s English-speaking communities.”
PERT used data from the 2021 national census to conduct this study. While PERT says the census “is the most comprehensive and up-to-date source of linguistically-disaggregated socioeconomic data in Canada and Québec in particular” the organization acknowledges that its data is limited in its “ability to capture specific issues and faces of poverty, including individuals who are experiencing homelessness.”


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