The provincial government has introduced legislation to standardize school taxes across Quebec.

School tax rates across the province vary from 10 cents per $100 of property valuation to 31 cents per $100.

In a campaign document, the CAQ promised that harmonizing school taxes will save the owner of $280,000 home in Montreal $186 a year, and $321 a year in Laval, all to way up to $520 per year in Saguenay, where they pay three times more than homeowners with the lowest rate in the Laurentians.

The province plans to eventually reduce them to the lowest rate of 10 cents per $100 for everyone, which will save homeowners and renters, but cost the provincial government upwards of $700 million.

“This is about addressing inequity between regions. That’s what this bill will do. At the same time, it will reduce taxes,” said Finance Minister Eric Girard.

The bill also gives the Ministry of Education the ability to compensate school boards for whatever needs are not met by school taxes.

“That compensation promised in the legislation must be maintained, or else we will feel the reduction in that compensation in schools,” said Russell Copeman, head of the Quebec English School Boards Association.

In his inaugural address last week, Premier Francois Legault promised not to cut funding to education, but PQ education critic Veronique Hivon calls this a missed opportunity to reinvest.

“For students, for specialists, for supporting our teachers. So we have to ask ourselves, is this at this time the best decision?” she said.

Girard said there’s no connection to the CAQ’s plan to eliminate school boards.