New funding for Townships English community

By Gordon Lambie

On Tuesday morning Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food and Member of Parliament for Compton-Stanstead announced $88,829 in funding to support the English minority language community in the Eastern Townships on behalf of Canadian Heritage. Focused specifically on a project to foster leadership in community organizations and another to support local journalism, the funds will be divided between Townshippers’ Association ($81,165) and The Townships Sun ($7,664).
Brenna Filion, who was recently hired as project director for the association, explained that the funds from Canada’s Community Cultural Action Fund will be used to help create tools and targeted resources for the benefit of leaders within the region’s community organizations.
“Communities need well equipped leaders,” Filion said, describing a three year project focused first on gathering information from local leaders about what areas are most lacking in terms of resources and training, then developing tools to bridge those gaps before finally creating a resource guide of best practices that can be shared with other minority language communities across the country. Asked about what kinds of gaps the project is looking to fill, Filion said that it is hard to say at this point because of the fact that the work might change dramatically depending on what the community leaders have to say.
Rachel Hunting, Executive Director of Townshippers’, said that one of the first steps will be to reach out to the Executive Directors of local groups.
“We want to ask, when you first stepped into your role, what was missing?” Hunting said, offering the example of training on how to apply for government grants as one form of support that could be offered, if the need is there.
The funding for The Townships Sun, meanwhile, comes through the Canada Periodical Fund, which is a part of ongoing efforts by the Federal government to support
David Wright, Chair of the Townships Sun’s board of directors explained that the magazine has been reliant on funding from Canadian Heritage to cover costs throughout its history.
“Since 1973 we have used that money to reach the English community of the Eastern Townships,” Wright said, describing the mission of the magazine, which is published about nine times a year, as the sharing of Eastern Townships culture and history.
Within the last year the publication has launched a digital edition in addition to its print version and has stepped up its online presence in an effort to engage more readers. At his point he said the Sun has 500 subscribers, although he estimated the readership to swell far beyond that number based on its pass-around value.
Wright told The Record that the funding announced on Tuesday is just going to cover general operations costs for the print edition, but said that the added contribution this year is a welcome addition after the work taken to get the magazine online.
“The world of publishing is facing a crisis,” the chair said, stressing the fact that this was true even before the arrival of a global pandemic.
For her part, Bibeau underlined the importance of helping out minority language communities across the country and said that now is a time to celebrate “small victories” within those groups. She pointed out that organizations looking to benefit from the Community Cultural Action Fund for the development of official language communities have until May 25, next Monday, to apply by contacting Canadian Heritage at or by calling 819-994-2222

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
On the subject of government funding, the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) is currently taking applications from Canadian citizens, permanent residents, registered Indians, or protected persons (such as refugees) who are currently studying or recently graduated from a recognized educational institution in Canada or abroad and how are looking for but unable to find work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CESB is a taxable benefit that provides relief for eligible students for a maximum of 16 weeks, but which must be applied for in four week increments. The benefit provides a payment of $1,250 for each 4-week period from May to August 2020 with the possibility of an extra $750 for each four week period for those with a qualifying disability or functional limitation, or those with at least one child under the age of 12.
More information on who can apply for CESB and how to do so is available online at or by calling Revenue Canada’s automated phone line at 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

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