Calculate your Marginal Tax rate

I just found this neat income tax calculator if you want to get a rough idea of how much income tax you will have to pay this year, and how that compares to other provinces. Remember, this is just an estimate and doesn't take into account your deductions and other items.

Income Tax Calculator

Here is the difference between Quebec and Ontario at $60000 income (about $4000 a year).

Quebec Federal and Provincial Income Tax rateOntario Income Tax rate

New Road Laws in Quebec - Drivers be Aware!

These new Road Laws aren't a Gatineau thing, but I sure hope we see them enforced in the Gatineau community.

I know the traffic problems in Gatineau are bad, but using your cell phone while driving in bumper to bumper traffic is ridiculous, especially with the recent bad weather. Yesterday I was cut off TWICE on the 50 by people on cell phone. Come on, have some consideration for other drivers!

Here are the highlights:
1. All vehicles registered in the province must have winter tires on between Nov. 15 and April 15 beginning next year (Nov 2008).
2. The new law bans the use of hand-held cell phones by drivers beginning Jan. 1, 2008 (except hands-free)
3. New drivers must take a certified driver's education courses.

Also, Quebec Minister of Transportation Julie Boulet said a pilot program of installing photo radars and cameras at traffic lights in 15 communities would also begin next year. The move to lower the legal alcohol limit from 0.08 to 0.05 did not pass (STUPID!!) - I think it's time for ZERO alcohol tollerance. I f you do drink this holiday season, remeber the number for Nez Rouge is 819 771-AUTO (2886).

Happy Holidays!

Gatineau Budget 2008

Property Tax increase: 1.9% plus 0.5% to continue implementing the fire safety cover plan (2.4% total)

Gatineau Budget RevenuesGatineau Budget Expenditures

Is Common Courtesy lost in Gatineau?

On Saturday December 8, 2007 I was enjoying lunch when I was interrupted by a backhoe scraping snow off my lawn. I went to take a look at when was going on to find a contractor crew digging a large hole in my front yard.

I understand that construction has to happen, and I know that technically the city claims an easement of the first 6 feet of property from the curb. However, this does not negate common courtesy. I feel it is the duty of work crews to inform property owner prior to destroying their property, and provide them with contact information BEFORE they begin such work.

I will have to live with a large unsightly hole in my front yard for the remainder of the winter, and I can only hope that come spring I can even contact the contractors to come make the proper repairs. This is not the first such incident. In June of this year, my entire side yard was destroyed by construction and it took 3 months, 8 phone calls and a threat of legal action to get it repaired (this incident was recorded in a previous blog post).

I will be contacting the City of Gatineau on Monday about today's incident, and will post their reply in this space.

UPDATE Dec.11 - I have finally received a message from the Gas company (Gazifiere). The Gazifiere rep actually told me that this "happens all the time". Also, he would not commit to when they will come make the grass repairs, saying that I can call them the first week of June and they will have a schedule for repairs by then.

I have informed them that this is unacceptable, and I am demanding a firm date in May for repairs, or a financial settlement and I will do the repairs myself.

I hope more citizens start to stand up for themselves. Don't let these comapnies intimidate you!

Is anyone in charge in Gatineau City Hall?

I don't want to go on a rant here, but some days I wonder who makes the decisions in the City of Gatineau Town Hall.

A few times a year, the Gatineau Optimist Club set up traffic cones and begs drivers for spare change for charity. This is usually done on a Saturday at non-major intersections and is a minor nuisance.

This morning, during my commute to work, the Gatineau Firefighters and local media set up traffic cones at MAJOR intersections (for example St. Joseph and the 5/Montbleu and at St. Joseph and Montclair) causing a traffic slowdown and delay of over 15 minutes on my commute – which is already over an hour to travel 15kms because of poor traffic planning (please see other posts).

I support firemen, I think they are heroes. I also support charities through annual donations and I feel most charities are deserving of support. However, slowing down and stopping rush hour commute traffic in a city whose roads are already slow and over-burdened is beyond idiotic.

Please contact your representative in City Hall to find out which Public Servant or Elected Representative authorized this major inconvenience. That person should be demoted, fired, or at a minimum have all decision making authority removed from their position.

Contact e-mails:
Gatineau 311 Complaints :
Mayor Marc Bureau:

By Mail:
Ville de Gatineau
C. P. 1970, succ. Hull
Gatineau (Québec) J8X 3Y9

Public Transportation costs ...

There were a few comment I received on my public transit post about what it costs to operate a car vs. the per km cost per person on a bus (approx. $0.35 per km per person for a bus, and I estimated about $0.30 per km based on my car - although that post has since been edited for length and content).

Anyhow, since some people questioned it, here is the estimated operating costs per km (2005 data) from CAA.

Obviously gas prices are slightly higher now. Keep in mind this is operating cost, not ownership cost. For the rest of this document:

City of Gatineau Transit - the STO

City of Gatineau busses - what is the real cost?

A lot of people seem to think public transit is an affordable means of transportation. I think that the bus service in Gatineau (and many other cities) are starting to get out of hand price-wise.

To start with, the "Express" service from Gatineau to Ottawa is actually quite good. The major flaw that I can see is that some routes have been diverted off the surface streets with bus lanes onto the highways 5 and 50, contributing to the gridlock (more about that in another post). That being said, lets look at the cost of taking the bus in Gatineau.

As of today, a bus pass costs $69.00 of a city pass and $84.50 for an "Express" pass.

In addition, a portion of your annual municipal (property) taxes go directly to support Gatineau Transit (the STO). Last year, for me, it was $1000.

So the total for the year? Bus passes for me and my wife $169 x 12 months = $2028
STO portion of property taxes = $1000
Total = $3028

Total km per day = 16km
Average work year: 240 days

$3028 / 16km / 240 / 2 riders = $0.39 per km per adult.

UPDATE: Both my wife an I have changed jobs and now work in Gatineau proper. Bussing is no longer an option because in order to get to work (6km travel) I would have to take 2 busses and then walk 15 minutes. For my wife, there is an Express that would take her to work in the morning (8km), but the Express does not pass her workplace in the evening (thats right, the same bus takes a different route in the morning and afternoon), so it's 2 busses and a 20 minute walk to get home, or 3 busses from a tranfer spot past our area.

But I still have to give STO $1000 a year for a service I can't realistically use, even if I wanted!

Time for Gatineau Transit to revisit their public transit mangement plan.

City of Gatineau Noise Bylaws

Here is an open note to the construction team that started work at 7am at 192 rue de la Plaine on Sunday Nov 18th.

Please familiarize yourself with Bylaw 44-2003 :

7. En raison de la nature irritante du bruit (sirènes, ondes de choc, impacts répétitifs, etc.), les travaux sur un chantier de construction, de rénovation ou de démolition, qui se situe à moins de 150 mètres d’un immeuble servant d’hébergement, ne peuvent s’effectuer que du lundi au samedi, entre 7 h et 21 h, sauf dans le cas de travaux d’urgence sur des infrastructures publiques ou de travaux qui ont été expressément autorisés par le Comité exécutif.

Dear fellow citizens, the City continually refuses to enforce this with bylaw enforcement officers and expect us to call the already overworked Police Services to enforce this law.

Please be sure to report ANY violations until the Police force the city to take action. Only when citizens get serious will the city get serious.

BTW, on Wednesday and Friday I witnessed drug deals on my street. Next time I will post the license plate of the offender in this spot.

Series of Break and Enter goes unsolved

According to the Police (Saturday) there have been numerous break-ins in the Mont Luc area of Gatineau lately.

The thief or thiefs use force to enter (smashing down doors) and rummage though the house for cash and jewlery. The Police have no clues and no suspects and their advice was "Get a good insurance company".

Everyone in Gatineau needs to be on the lookout. These robberies are not silent (kicking doors down) and most likely someone in your neighbourhood.

If you see anything, call the Police.

Pont des Draveurs - Load Restriction

Anomalies in the bridge structure of Pont des Draveurs in Gatineau is forcing the Ministry of Transportation of Quebec to ban the movement of heavy trucks in the right lanes. Starting a midnight Friday October 19th, buses, trucks and any vehicle with more than five tons can only move in the centre lanes of the bridge.

The ministry says it is necessary to carry out repairs to cracks on the concrete piers supporting the bridge, however, work on the bridge is not expected before next spring.

This information was released to French media outlets on Thursday Oct 18th. There are still no further details on the City of Gatineau website.

Gatineau City Coucil

District maps:

1 – Aylmer District2 – Lucerne District3 – Deschênes District4 – Val-Tétreau District5 – Wright–Parc-de-la-Montagne District


Frank Thérien


André Laframboise


Alain Riel



Alain Pilon


Patrice Martin


6 – Orée-du-Parc District7 – Saint-Raymond–Vanier District8 – Hull District9 – Limbour District10 – Riverains District

Louise Poirier


Pierre Philion


Denise Laferrière


Simon Racine


Denis Tassé


11 – Promenades District12 – Versant District13 – Bellevue District14 – Lac-Beauchamp District15 – Rivière-Blanche District

Luc Angers


Joseph De Sylva


Richard Côté


Aurèle Desjardins


Yvon Boucher


16 – Masson-Angers District17 – Buckingham District


Luc Montreuil



Jocelyne Houle


Gatineau to Get $40 Million for Infrastructure

Time to write to the Mayor and your City Councillor and demand that the Highway 50 and Highway 5 interchange be enhanced and the Alonzo Bridge and Verendrye from Greber to St-Louis be expanded to 2 lanes!

August 31, 2007

The City of Gatineau Receives an Initial Payment of $11,848,869 from the Transfer of a Portion of Federal Gasoline Excise Tax Revenues and the Government of Quebec’s Contribution

Gatineau, Quebec - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and Benoît Pelletier, Quebec Minister responsible for the Outaouais region and MNA for Chapleau, on behalf of Nathalie Normandeau, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Regions, are pleased to announce that the City of Gatineau will receive $11,848,869 under the federal-provincial agreement on the transfer of a portion of federal gasoline excise tax revenues and the Government of Quebec’s contribution. This is the first payment for the City of Gatineau, which will receive a total of $37,027,716 over the next four years for major infrastructure projects. Also present at this event today were Stéphanie Vallée, MNA for Gatineau, and Charlotte L’Écuyer, MNA for Pontiac.

“We all know to what extent modern infrastructure benefits to all Canadians and is instrumental to the environment and the economy of the country”, said Minister Lawrence Cannon. “This is why our government works in partnership with the Quebec government to make cities and communities in Quebec the best places to live, study, work and visit.”

“The repair and modernization of public infrastructure is a high priority for the Government of Quebec. The funding announced today is a reflection of our commitment to improve the quality of life of residents. With this agreement, the City of Gatineau will now be able to rely on stable annual funding, which will facilitate planning the work that needs to be done,” said Minister Benoît Pelletier.

“I am pleased that the City of Gatineau can benefit from this governmental funding in order to modernize the drinking water treatment plan in the Aylmer sector,” added the Mayor of Gatineau, Marc Bureau.

The goal of the Canada-Quebec Agreement is to provide funding for the renewal of municipal and local infrastructure, and specifically for municipal drinking water, wastewater, local road system and public transit infrastructure, within a context of sustainable development. Canada’s new government will pay the Government of Quebec a total of $1.34 billion over five years, to which Quebec will add $475.7 million, for a grand total of $1.8 billion. Including contributions from municipalities, $2.3 billion will go toward renewing municipal infrastructure. The funds will be administered by the Société de financement des infrastructures locales du Québec (SOFIL).

City of Gatineau - Beautiful Nature

The last bunch of posts about Gatineau I have focussed on some of the negative aspects of living in the city of Gatineau and tried to dispell some of the sales myths used to lure home buyers to this region.

Today I want to focus on what I feel is the main selling point of Gatineau - Natural Beauty.

Gatineau, famous for "the Gatineau Hills" is a fantactic place for outdoor recreation. There are dozens of large parks, bike paths that go from one end of the city to the other, and many attractions and festivals.

Here are some pictures of the Gatineau Hills:

The Lac Lemay Casino and surroundings:

City of Gatineau Services - Daycare

The City of Gatineau and most of it's supporters talk about the "7 dollar-a-day" daycare system as a justification for the increased taxload.

My daughter was born in July 2006. My wife and I started contacting daycares for a $7 spot starting in January 2006 (yes - before she was even born) for July 2007 spots. It is now October 2007 and we have yet to hear from any subsidized daycares in the city of Gatineau.

While these spots do exist, they are not unlimited and they are very hard to get. If you put your child on a waiting list before they are born, you might get a daycare spot by the time they are 2.

If you are using the cheap daycare as a justification for the excessive Gatineau taxload, get your facts straight!!

Gatineau - the Traffic Problem

Gatineau 2007 is a result of the amalgamation of a few smaller cities: Gatineau, Aylmer, and Hull. The total population of the new city of Gatineau is about 250, 000 and about 1/2 of those live in the old city of Gatineau.

Despite being a city of about 100,000 people, Gatineau has a terrible traffic problem due partly to geography and partly to VERY poor city planning.

As you can see from the map below, Gatineau sector is bordered to the south and the west by the Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers.

There are only 3 bridges to cross the river - 2 street level (one 2 lane, one 1-lane) and one highway. As a result, leaving or returning to the district of Gatineau during rush hour can take approximately 30-45 minutes (to travel less than 5 kms).

In addition to the lack of street access, one bridge (the single lane bridge) is at a corner with a Subway, Mcdonalds, Tim Hortons and other stores and restaurants.

I really don't know who in this city is responsible for traffic analysis, but they should be fired. And the citizens of Gatineau should be demanding better transportation options from the over-paid municipal government.

Gatineau - Services Part 2

The second totally inadequate service in the city is the Bylaw enforcement.

The 2 major issues?
1. On Street Parking
2. Construction Noise Violations.

1. Parking - People in the city of Gatineau seem to park wherever they want.

On my street, cars often line BOTH sides of the street (where all these cars are from since every house has a double driveways is beyond me). Even if there is space on one side, people often park directly across from a car on the other side. This means that every day a section of my street is LESS than one lane wide.

Why Gatineau lets this slide, I will never know.

2. Noise Violations.
Did you know there is a 7am to 9pm, Mon to Sat construction law in Gatineau? Seems the contractors, police and by-law officials don't either.

Outside of those hours, and never on Sunday or Holidays can construction take place. So why is it that for the last 4 months I have had to listen to hammers, chainsaws and whatever else until 2 in the morning sometimes?

And don't think I don't complain - I have written 3 e-mails to the City and had a phone conversation with a "Steve Wong" about this issue ... but I still had to listen to a gas powered electric generator until 11:30pm yesterday ...

Gatineau - the Tax I almost forgot ...

I forgot in my taxes post to include this one ...

The Gatineau Tax de Bienvenue

Loosely translated that means "Gatineau Welcome Tax" and roughly it is about 1% of whatever you paid for your house. So about $2500 for your new $250,000 house.

And what services does that tax pay for? Well, nothing really. You just pay it for the privilege of moving in ...

Seriously ...

Gatineau - What about the Services?

The city of Gatineau, or at least those who try to sell houses here, talk a lot about the world class services in this city. Well, let me start with health care services ...

I will summarize by saying this - I have leaved here 4 years now and have yet to see a Quebec Doctor.

No, not by choice!

My family Dr. is in Ottawa because the waiting list for doctors in Gatineau is an estimated 6 years. Even my 1 year old daughter has to see an Ontario Doctor because there are no pediatricians taking new patients in the City of Gatineau.

Now, there is one part of the health care service that is adequate. The CLSC Gatineau has provided free immunizations for my daughter, and they sent a nurse to our home for the 48 hour and 1 week check-up of my daughter.

Does this make up for having to drive to Orleans Ontario (35 minutes) last month with my sick daughter because she is refused a 6 clinics (Yes, 6 Gatineau clinics refused to see her - a 14 month old!) - absolutely not.

If you have health issues, do NOT move to Gatineau!

Gatineau Taxes - the Biggest Lie

Lets start with property taxes:
A 2000 sq.ft home in Ottawa on a 50 x 100ft lot (approx) taxes are about $3,000 a year.
In Gatineau : $5,600 a year!

Difference? $50 a week

Income taxes:
Based on a Salary of $60,000
Ontario net per paycheck : $2,000
Gatineau net per paycheck : $1,600

Difference? $200 a week

So if you are a home owner with a $250,000 house and a $60,000 a year job, you WILL PAY about $13,000 more taxes PER YEAR than your conterpart living in Ottawa. Read that again - Gatineau taxes are THIRTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS more ...

Why Gatineau?

3 years ago I started looking for a house. As a Public Sevant working on the Quebec side of the river, I thought I would take a look at Gatineau.

Accoring to the site "avec un agent" these were the advantages:

Advantages of Living in the Outaouais
The situation that currently prevails in the real estate sector at the national level mirrors what we are seeing in the Outaouais region.
Several factors increase the appeal of the Outaouais:
Municipal tax rates are relatively low;
New housing developments are located near urban centres;
Building lots in the Outaouais are usually larger with more extensive wooded areas;
Couples with young children can obtain quality childcare services at a cost of $7/day;
A wide range of businesses can be found nearby;
Sports facilities are widely accessible;
Quality school and health care systems are available in both French and English;
The economy is thriving.
A number of factors relating to quality of life may also be considered:
Proximity to Gatineau Park, rivers and lakes
Numerous golf courses
Exceptional bike paths
Breathtaking scenery
One final thing to consider: Gatineau is rated as the second best city in Canada in terms of quality of life. (Source: Economic Profile of the City of Gatineau, February 2004)

Well, allow me to dispell these myths one by one.

Check back often for more stories about the real Gatineau.