It did not impact the town’s budget, but used funds remaining in Hawkesbury’s 2019 budget. That’s the explanation on the cost of a week-long November 2019 trip Hawkesbury Mayor Paula Assaly took to France and Belgium as part of an effort to recruit new francophone workers at local businesses.
Initially, it was reported that Contak Staffing Solutions covered the cost of the mayor’s trip to the Destination Canada event which is organized by the Canadian embassies in Paris and Brussels. A further conversation with the mayor has revealed that the approximate cost of her trip is $5,000 and 50 per cent of that was paid for by the Francophone Immigration Support Network of East Ontario, and the remaining 50 per cent by the town.
Assaly emphasized though that the cost came at no extra expense to the town because it was covered by unused funds in the 2019 budget that were allocated for council use for such activities. The mayor said the trip was paid for this way for 2019 because the $1.3 million the federal government has made available for Hawkesbury’s designation as a welcoming community for francophone immigrants will not be available until April 2020. Assaly said next year’s Destination Canada activities will be fully covered by the federal funds.
Two staff members from the Centre de services à l’emploi Prescott-Russell/Employment Services Centre of Prescott-Russell (CSEPR/ESCPR) have also traveled to Europe for the Destination Canada event. According to Executive Director Caroline Arcand, the approximate $6,000 cost was covered by Contak Staffing Solutions.