Volume 94, Issue 64

Wednesday, January 17, 2001


Threat of gun violence rocks King's

Quebec attacks brain drain - New tax cuts target high-tech profs

USC motion could change VP voting

Smart cards on hold - Privacy issue raises questions

RRU gets a military discharge - BC university goes from military to civilian


Planet Me

Quebec attacks brain drain - New tax cuts target high-tech profs

By Mike Murphy
Gazette Staff

In the hopes of attracting top foreign professors to its universities, Québec has promised to keep the taxman away from them.

Researchers and teachers working in certain high-tech and financial fields, who move to Québec from outside the country, will be exempted from all provincial income taxes for five years, said Francesco Arena, spokesperson for research and universities at Québec's Ministry of Education.

Arena said the new policy was announced in July 2000, noting that since most universities hire professors in early June, its effects will not be felt until the 2001-02 academic year.

Only foreign professors immigrating to Québec and former Canadians returning home after becoming non-residents will be eligible for the exemption, if they teach in the areas of science, engineering, international finance or information technology, he said.

According to Kerry Delaney, spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Ontario has no plans to push for professor-targeted tax breaks.

"Certainly, it's a very competitive environment for professors," Delaney said. She said the province has put considerable funding into university research and cut income tax rates for Ontarians across the board.

Still, the president of Western's faculty association, Eddie Ebanks, said Québec's new tax breaks could give its universities a competitive advantage over Ontario's.

Arguing that Ontario must make a concerted effort at attracting new faculty, Ebanks cited a report issued Monday by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations indicating approximately 15,000 new professors must be hired in Ontario over the next decade.

"Everyone is gearing up to attract those profs," he said. "If Québec is going to [give them tax breaks] then they're going to have a big advantage."

At McGill University in Montreal, associate vice principal (academic) Nick deTakacsy, said he supported the tax breaks. "It will be helpful. Québec taxes are somewhat higher than elsewhere," he noted.

He added, though, he did not think Québec universities have had an exceptionally hard time getting good professors. "If I look at our departments, they're not worse than they were 10 years ago," he said. "I don't feel it's unusually difficult for us to hire very good people.

The policy was created at the urging of Québec's universities, which sometimes have trouble getting enough qualified professors in those areas, he said. "It's a period where they want to hire new professors. In some fields, this is very difficult because professors go to the US or the private sector," he said.

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