RIVIÈRE-SAINT-PAUL, QC, March 22, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - The Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers, Christopher Skeete, today announced almost $450,000 in financial support for two projects on the Lower North Shore and in Eastern Québec.
The English-speaking population on the Lower North Shore and in Eastern Québec faces major challenges because of its linguistic, geographic and economic isolation, aggravated by the decline in the fishery, which has reduced employment prospects in the regional labour market. The number of young people leaving to pursue higher education or find employment has reduced their contribution to the socio-economic development of regional communities. Overall, the unemployment rate for the English-speaking communities of Eastern Quebec (Bas Saint-Laurent, Côte-Nord and Gaspésie-les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine) is more than double that of their French-speaking neighbours and of the Quebec population as a whole. The unemployment rate of English speakers on the Lower North Shore (31.7%) is more than four times the Quebec rate.
To support the vitality of English-speaking communities in these three regions, the government will provide support for two projects. The first project, coordinated by the Coasters Association of the Lower North Shore, targets the creation of a business incubator and accelerator for new enterprises on the Lower North Shore. It will receive $300,000 in funding over three years, giving new entrepreneurs access to entrepreneurship support and business development resources in the ecological bioproducts sector, mainly for sea products.
The second project was submitted by a network of organizations active in English-speaking communities in the Côte-Nord, Bas-St-Laurent and Gaspésie-les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine regions. It is coordinated by the Committee for Anglophone Social Action (CASA), in a partnership with the Coasters Association, the North Shore Community Association (NSCA), Heritage Lower Saint Lawrence, and the Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders (CAMI). The funding will support the creation of a rural development network in Eastern Québec to increase access to public services for English-speaking Quebecers. The initiative will receive funding of up to $150,000 over two years.
"I believe that innovation must be at the heart of economic development, and this is what we are trying to achieve on the Lower North Shore. People here must have an opportunity to live an enriching life, while meeting their own needs and the needs of their family. With the investment announced today, we aim to make the communities along the coast a crucible for innovation. This would be quite a reversal and I can assure you that it will be welcomed by many people."
Premier François Legault
"This funding paves the way for more sustainable development on the Lower North Shore, which will be of particular benefit to the English-speaking communities experiencing both geographic and linguistic isolation. It has been made possible in part thank to the tireless work of groups such as the Coasters Association of the Lower North Shore, whose commitment has never faltered over the last thirty years."
Christopher Skeete, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers
"The Coasters Association is so proud to announce our partnership of the project – Business Incubator Accelerator Centre. The project will stimulate the establishment and growth of SMEs in the bioproduct sector, and initiate a collaborative process to support long-term, sustainable socio economic development of the communities on the Lower North Shore. A wonderful opportunity and a vital initiative for our region."
Eileen Schofield, president of the Coasters Association of the Lower North Shore
"We are pleased to be one of five regional partners participating in the Regional Development Initiative for Eastern Quebec. Our organizations play a crucial role in building community vitality in our respective regions—we can now look forward to collaborating on approaches that will allow our communities to benefit from socio-economic development opportunities in Eastern Quebec. The financial support of the Government of Quebec will have a profound impact on our actions in this area."
Stella Kennedy, president of the Committee for Anglophone Social Action
The objectives of the future business incubator and accelerator are to
- Support a minimum of six small or medium-sized enterprises working to develop ecological bioproducts
- Explore the economic feasibility of 48 bioproducts that could be brought to market
- Identify and list the challenges involved in delivering services to small and medium-sized enterprises in remote communities
- Help entrepreneurs approach potential investors and navigate the initial product development and marketing phases
The future Rural Development Network for the English-speaking community in Eastern Québec aims to
- Develop and activate a socio-demographic database to gather information on the realities faced by the community
- Support joint planning sessions to deal with isolation and remote locations
- Draft and implement a strategic plan over the medium term
- Take part in regional meetings on economic development, and in any other meetings or conferences considered relevant to advance its goals
SOURCE Secrétariat des Relations avec les Québécois d’expression anglaise
For further information: Éric Jabbari, Conseiller Politique, Cabinet du Premier Ministre, Phone : 514 924-2934, [email protected]; Information: Jean Auclair, Media Relations, Direction des communications, Ministère du Conseil exécutif, Phone: 418 643-0875, extension 4064