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Vaudreuil-Soulanges agency assists businesses struggling due to pandemic regulations

Développement Vaudreuil ‐ Soulanges (DEV) received $ 3,223,589 since last April from the Government of Québec to support businesses across the Municipalité régional du comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges. As of November 25, all of the funding has been awarded in the form of loans or forgiveness loans to 126 businesses in the territory.

“Our MRC is in full swing with growth and our economy is very diverse. It is our duty as elected officials to support businesses that need it to lessen the impact of the pandemic.” said Patrick Bousez, Mayor of Rivière ‐ Beaudette and Prefect of the MRC de Vaudreuil ‐ Soulanges.

The Québec government provided all the MRC’s of Québec with $250 million to be shared under the emergency assistance program for small and medium-sized enterprises last spring. The MRC de Vaudreuil ‐ Soulanges received $2,611,350.  The government announced on September 28, the closure of certain categories of businesses located in the red zones.  Following the announcement, the Québec ministry of economy and Innovation revised and improved the assistance program and added an option for concept loan forgiveness to companies in regions on maximum alert.

The provincial assistance has resulted in maximum loan of $ 50,000 to businesses, 80 per cent of which can be transformed into a grant for certain costs, such as municipal and school taxes, rent, interest paid on mortgage loans, insurance, etc.   DEV was awarded an additional $612,000 by the ministry recently to increase the support.

Since last October, DEV has donated $ 990,000 to 31 restaurateurs, gyms and other businesses affected by the red zone designation.  The files of 26 other companies are still pending due to the delays in receiving funds. The flow of requests to DEV by businesses seeking aid is faster than the receipt of funds promised by the ministry.

“Since the government has postponed the resumption of their activities until January 11, January, we need to get more money from the ministry,” said Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon, who is also President of DEV.

“I’m going to call on my fellow mayors at next MRC council meeting for us to adopt a resolution asking the government to give us another two million dollars to continue to help them,” said Pilon.

For DEV CEO Joanne Brunet, the priority is to support entrepreneurs in accessing the available funds from DEV.

“Since these are public funds, we have a duty analyze the financial situation of companies making an application and the team performs this task promptly in order to respond to entrepreneurs who experience great insecurity in this period of pandemic, Brunet said.

As the recovery could take several months for certain business sectors, the request for additional funds will allow adequate and rapid support for small and medium sized enterprises in the region.

The Vaudreuil ‐ Soulanges region has more than 3,630 businesses that employ nearly 40,000 people.

In the neighbouring United Counties of Prescott and Russell in Ontario, the regional government does not offer any similar service like what DEV and the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges offers to its small and medium sized businesses with support from the Québec government.

James Morgan

James Morgan is a freelance contributor. He has worked for several print and broadcast media outlets. James loves the history, natural beauty, and people of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

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