Quebec made several announcements Monday to boost an economy hard hit by the pandemic, with the provincial government saying it’s investing millions to help businesses and workers.
“We have a lot of innovators in Quebec. We have a lot of entrepreneurs who have ideas,” said Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon.
“Unfortunately, there’s a gap in the capital for these companies to grow.”
That’s why Quebec is announcing $50 million over two years for new companies — not to replace private investment, but rather to help them secure the capital and resources they need.
Many of these businesses have had to innovate because of the pandemic; they may be suffering because of the shutdowns and are now looking at new ways to operate.
“Having put in a numeric system, now they can do more. Or because in the case of an emergency because they had no other choice, so the question is to give them the best resources, expertise and financing to be able to do that,” said Béatrice Alain, executive director of the Chantier de l’économie sociale.
Quebec is also addressing another important economic issue — the labour shortage in the daycare network.
“Everybody knows people who don’t have a place in a daycare or a CPE to go back to work. I think it’s very important,” said Labour Minister Jean Boulet.
The government is launching a new work-study program: students will alternate between time studying and working where they’ll receive a wage. They’ll also receive a bursary once they’ve finished two semesters.
However, the opposition Quebec Solidaire remains skeptical.
“What is missing is the measures to make a career in daycares attractive,” said QS MNA, Christine Labrie.
For that, she said higher salaries are key to keeping new daycare educators in the sector.