Police shot a woman in the face with a tear gas canister during a protest in Quebec City, and the provincial minister in charge of Public Safety is not impressed.

Hundreds of protesters, mostly students, demonstrated near the National Assembly late Thursday afternoon to show their displeasure with the provincial budget.

The protesters are opposed to the spending cuts being taken to balance the budget, saying the so-called austerity measures will have a severely negative effect on Quebec's social fabric.

About 90 minutes after the protest began police declared the demonstration illegal and moved in to break up the crowd.

Officers fired tear gas and a photographer captured one officer firing at a woman from about two metres away.

The projectile hit the woman in the chin, leaving her with a one large cut and about a dozen smaller wounds.

She was reportedly taken to hospital for treatment.

Public Security Minister Lise Theriault said she was disturbed when she saw that video and wants to hear from police.

"As a mother, when you see something like that, if it’s my son, or my girl, when people go to demonstrations, they have the right to protest, but safely,” said Theriault.

Police arrested one person for assaulting an officer.