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Tax measures designed to help the struggling print media industry include a labour tax credit to bolster the salaries of working journalists with qualified Canadian journalism organizations. (CTV News)

MONTREAL -- Print media in Quebec, facing an unprecedented crisis, will receive a boost from the government to breathe a little life into the industry and give a small amount of financial leeway over the next five years.

To help print media companies through the crisis while waiting to find a new business model, Quebec will favour the tax track.

Press companies will now be able to claim a refundable tax credit of 35 per cent on employees' salaries.

The measure is retroactive to January 1, 2019, and is valid for each employee in the newsroom who earns up to $75,000 annually.

Newsroom employees and IT staff involved will be eligible.

In total, the financial assistance plan announced by Quebec amounts to nearly $50 million a year until 2023-2024.

The assistance has been generally well-received by the union organizations representing the workers concerned, but the CSN and the FTQ warn that more needs to be done to resolve the crisis.

In an interview just after the announcement, the president of the National Communications Federation of the CSN, Pascale St-Onge, saw the announcement of the 35 per cent payroll tax credit as a breath of fresh air for the print media, a form of emergency assistance that matches the level of help it requested.

FTQ President Daniel Boyer warned that this step in the right direction would not be enough. It will take several measures, including other rules against Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (GAFA), which draw on the content of the written media without contributing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2019.