A local community group organization is denouncing what they describe as chronic underfunding of Montreal’s community sector.
The Intersectorial Regrouping of Community Organizations of Montreal (RIOCM) is calling on the CAQ government to invest an additional $100 million per year.
“Groups have to fight every day to stay open,” said RIOCM Coordinator Marie-Andrée Painchaud-Mathieu at a press conference. She was accompanied by representatives of the three main opposition parties.
According to the RIOCM, half of the 531 organizations it represents receive less than $160,000 per year, and the fifth only $100,000, which “represents two salaries”.
Painchaud-Mathieu also argued that one-off investments “with emergency funds or project funding” create even more problems.
“We are caught hiring contractors,” she explained, “and as soon as we have trained them, they leave, because that is the end of the funding.”
Between that and “the salaries which are ridiculously low”, the staff is constantly on rotation and “we spend our time being in selection,” she added.
Painchaud-Mathieu said that most years, the National Assembly passes a motion to congratulate the work of community organizations, but added, “Thank you for the thanks, but now we have to get the money out.”
The opposition representatives echoed her sentiment, saying the CAQ government has been removed from the situation many Montrealers live in everyday.
“If Legault can find $300 million for the C- series plane, then I think they can find $100 million for this cause,” Parti Québécois leader Paul Saint-Pierre Plamondon said.
RIOCM says they receive just over $100 million in annual funding. They claim to have repeatedly asked to sit down with the government to discuss their financial issues but claim they have not had a meeting during the three years the CAQ government has been sitting.
Minister Chantal Rouleau was asked to attend the meeting but refused, Painchaud-Mathieu said.
Liberal MNA, Frantz Benjamin says it is shameful, adding, “you cannot refuse to listen and refuse to meet them.”
“There is a lot of marginalized people in Montreal. Life is not easy for everybody. The government doesn’t seem to understand that,” Painchaud-Matheiu said.
— with files From The Canadian Press