Minister Zakaïb Presents Strategy

ASBESTOS-LogoASBESTOS: Élaine Zakaïb, Minister in charge of Industrial Policy and the Bank of Economic Development of Quebec, accompanied by Réjean Hébert, Minister for Health and Social Services and Minister responsible for Seniors and for the Estrie region, presented the strategy relevant to les Fonds de diversification économique de la MRC des Sources, with a budget of $50 million dollars. Originally announced on November 15, 2012, this funding is aimed at supporting diversified efforts within the economically struggling region, in particular, caused by the permanent closure of Jeffrey Mines.

Under the presidency of François Gouin, la Table de diversification économique de la MRC des Sources, made up of business people and experts in economic development, started its work last December. Based on the socio-economic portrait of the region and the research carried out, a diversified economic strategy, based on the recognized strong points of the MRC, was developed. This strategy is based on, among other things, consultations related to the Plan d’affaires pour le développement des filières et parcs industriels de la MRC des Sources, created in 2012. This effort also falls in line with broader objectives contained in the Development Plan for 2007-2014 for the MRC des Sources.

“Our government has committed to provide all the tools necessary to the MRC of the Sources to boost its economy”, elaborated Minister Élaine Zakaïb, “the MRC now has the means to actively support the creation and expansion of development projects and job creators in accordance with priorities and in respect of the principles of economic development. The development of this strategy represents the fruit of the work accomplished by la Table de diversification économique de la MRC des Sources, which sparked the mobilization and collaboration without precedent between the government and the team of partners involved in the economic development of the region. The strategy presented today is proof that it is possible to work together to advance the economy of an entire region.”

“The basis for the implementation of this economic diversification strategy is the $50 million in funding which has been added to existing programs”, Minister Réjean Hébert affirmed, “This funding comes with more favorable terms than that involving existing programs, whether it applies to admissible companies or improved rates of assistance. I am convinced that it will provide the necessary impetus for the implementation of projects resulting from this plan of action. It will become an essential financial lever for the realization of promising and innovative projects. The economic environment of the MRC des Sources has determined its strategic policy, such as promising niches and taking concrete measures to generate business and investment projects.”

La Table de diversification économique de la MRC des Sources has adopted a vision of development that stretches in four directions: support local entrepreneurship, attract sustainable quality projects, assets and improve business conditions in the MRC as well as increase awareness of the region and promote its diversification plan. Moreover, the plan has identified six priorities: specialized metal processing, food processing, the specialization of agricultural production, tourism, environmental technologies and technological services.

Accessible and Effective Funding

Les Fonds de diversification économique de la MRC des Sources provides an effective and accessible financial tool to promote the implementation of development projects and improve the competitiveness of enterprises. Directly supporting the growth of companies is the fact that this source of funding is being made available for feasibility studies, investment projects and the development of products or processes. Financial aid will be in the form of loans, loan guarantees, equity investments and grants.

This funding is geared toward companies in the manufacturing field or the electronics industry, which includes high equity companies or those using new technologies. It also includes the projects of second or third conversion of undertakings of the primary sector as well as the major projects by companies involved in the tourist sector.

A Parliamentary Commission on Asbestos

Minister Hébert took advantage of the opportunity presented him, by this press conference, to remind the Parti Québécois of their commitment, in the last election, to submit a proposal to the National Assembly asking for a parliamentary committee on the exploitation and use of asbestos.

“The government, on its own, made the decision not to invest in this industry”, declared the Minister. “It is up to the members of Parliament to undertake a wide-ranging debate on this issue. »


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