Quebec helping print media weather digital storm with refundable tax credits

Quebec flag (Flickr)

The Quebec government is giving the province's print media a financial boost to help them confront the unprecedented crisis facing the industry from the rise of digital competitors.

Media companies will be able to claim a refundable tax credit equal to 35 per cent of employees' salaries over five years to give them financial leeway while they seek a new business model.

The measure announced Wednesday, retroactive to Jan. 1, applies to the first $75,000 of newsroom employees' salaries.

The announcement made by Finance Minister Eric Girard and Culture and Communications Minister Nathalie Roy follows a recent parliamentary commission on the future of media and the forced sale of six newspapers of Groupe Capitales Medias, a cash-strapped French-language newspaper chain that filed for creditor protection in August.

The financial assistance totals nearly $50 million a year by 2023-2024.

For the past decade, the print media has faced a rapid decline in subscriptions and advertising revenues, which migrated to web giants such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.