“Community action is a component that is truly essential to Quebec’s social and economic development,” said Quebec Labor Minister Jean Boulet.

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Quebec is promising brighter days for the province’s community organizations, which have had a particularly difficult time during the pandemic because of a lack of resources and increased demand.

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The province says it wants to help the organizations continue their mission and recognize how important they are to society, which is why it will invest $1.1 billion over the next five years to implement its 2022-2027 Community Action Plan.

During a news conference Saturday, Quebec Labor Minister Jean Boulet said the investment will be used to improve and expand the services offered by community organizations in order to help them accomplish their missions.

The plan includes $888 million in increased government funding to help the organizations meet their goals, while $186 million will be used to improve working conditions, staff training and human resources management.

“Community action is a component that is truly essential to Quebec’s social and economic development,” Boulet said, especially given the wide range of issues the organizations address: from homelessness to schooling, domestic violence, drug addiction, integration and more.

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“It is a plan that is coherent, comprehensive and includes concrete actions,” Boulet added.

Organizations will be able to apply for grants through the plan by presenting their missions to the government. Boulet promised the process will be straightforward.

In addition to supporting existing organizations, Quebec is providing $9 million over five years to help new ones get established in their communities.

Since community organizations aren’t spared from the continuing labor shortage, Boulet said incentives to work or volunteer with an organization will also be put in place. This will include expanded access to pension and group insurance, particularly for new employees.

Boulet also emphasized the importance of properly training people who want to do the work.

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“We need to retain the young talent that wants to work in the community sector,” Boulet said. “So training, benefits, pension plans, group insurance — they need to have access to that.”

The Réseau québécois de l’action communautaire autonome welcomed the plan, but believes the investments are too low compared to other sectors.

“The problem is that there isn’t enough money for the overall mission, so there are sectors that are left out,” said Caroline Toupin, the group’s coordinator. “This is why many are disappointed and even upset, because the situation is critical on the ground, and the population’s needs are increasing at the same time.”

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In response, Boulet said the plan isn’t set in stone and could be adapted based on feedback from people working in the community sector.

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