Government aid for Quebec agri-food enterprises

By Matthew Sylvester, Special to the Record

The Government of Canada announced $10 488 913 in new funding for Quebec-based agriculture and food enterprises at Bishop’s University on Wedensday. Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-foods and Member of Parliament for Compton-Stanstead made the announcement accompanied by Élisabeth Brière, MP for Sherbrooke,
“The Canadian government has recognized the importance of ensuring regional food safety and reducing our independence on industrial agriculture,” Bibeau said, emphasizing that the agri-food industry is a driving force of the regional economy and a sector that has been particularly hard-hit by the ongoing pandemic. She added that she hopes the financial assistance will help to increase the productivity of affected businesses by allowing the purchase of digital and automated equipment, the diversification of products and services, and the modernization of facilities.
A total of 27 individual businesses will be receiving a slice of the aid from the federal government. Organized by the department of Canadian Economic Development for Quebec Regions, or CED, the program aims to provide those in the agri-food industry with the tools necessary to survive the economic downturn and to be a part of the revitalization of the Canadian economy over the next few years.
Coaticook-based vegetable pâté maker Bio-Bon is the only Townships enterprise to receive funding from the program, but the aid for the business is expected to total just over $330,000. According to founder and co-operator Pasquale Beauvais, the funds couldn’t have come at a better time for the company.
Not only is Bio-Bon suffering from an at least 30% drop in sales from cancelled orders by restaurants and hotels, the company has also been undergoing renovations since before the pandemic began. Beauvin said that the grant is allowing the purchase of new machinery to increase the production speed while also helping keep as many employees as possible on the payroll.
In a press release Mélanie Joly, Minister responsible for the CED stated that, “by helping the agri-food industry invest in equipment and devices that will enhance its performance, the Government of Canada is standing by its commitment to foster the startup and growth of businesses that have demonstrated their know-how and capacity to innovate.”
The funding for the aid was provided by the CED’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program.

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