--- Federal government announces new funds for economic development agencies in the Outaouais
On November 5, Parliamentary Secretary of Innovation, Science and Industry Will Amos (Pontiac, Que.) announced a total of $1,056,648 in funding to the Sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités (SADC) of Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, Papineau and Pontiac. The announcement was made during a virtual meeting with directors general and other staff members of SADCs in the Outaouais region, with Parliamentary Secretary of Seniors Stéphane Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation, Que.) also present.
The funding is the second round of financial assistance made through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, which is administered through the Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions department of the federal government. The fund was set up to help small businesses and entrepreneurs, particularly in rural areas, to adapt their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, each SADC in the Outaouais received just over one million dollars through the fund. “Our SADCs are institutions that are ready and able to evaluate the needs of businesses in our regions,” said Amos. In total, the second phase of the fund will provide $23.3 million to 67 SADCs and Centres d’aide aux entreprises in the province.
Each SADC will receive $352,216 to give loans to local businesses and entrepreneurs who may have trouble meeting thresholds for other federal programs, such as the wage subsidy, or who are in need of extra funding to help adapt their businesses. SADCs also work in an advisory role, where they provide coaching and business management advice to small companies.
Co-owner Guillaume Saumur of Finition G&S, a renovation company founded in 2018 and located in Sainte-Thérèse-de-la-Gatineau, testified about the importance of getting this funding last June. Saumur said he had already purchased materials for a new project, when the lockdown forced him to shut down his operations. The company remained ineligible for government programs to cover fixed costs and the cost of materials, until funding through the SADC Vallée-de-la-Gatineau enabled him to keep from having to pay those costs out of his own pocket.
When asked how many companies were helped through this program, Mélissa Bergeron, director general of SADC Papineau, said the organization had helped over 40 companies during the first phase of funding. Lauzon said they do not have a record of the exact number of companies helped through the SADC Vallée-de-la-Gatineau or the SADC Pontiac, but that annual reports at the end of year could provide that information.
Amos said these loans will put local economies in the Outaouais region in a good position during this pandemic. “We would be in a completely different place right now if we did not get those funds,” remarked Saumur.