Quebec is promising brighter days for community organizations, which have had a tough time during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a lack of resources and increased demand.
The Legault government said it will invest $1.1 billion over the next five in its 2022-2027 “community action” plan.
Social Solidarity Minister Jean Boulet said the investment will improve and expand services offered to community organizations to help them accomplish their mission.
The plan includes $888.1 million to support the overall missions of community organizations, while $186.8 million will 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.
“It is a plan that is coherent, comprehensive and includes concrete actions.”
To receive government grants, organizations will be required to present their mission, a process Boulet said will be as straightforward as possible.
“All funding applications for community organizations supported by my department will be simplified. We will work in collaboration with them to ensure that all the bureaucratic aspect is lightened as much as possible,” he told The Canadian Press.
In addition to supporting existing organizations, Quebec is providing $9.4 million over five years to help new players get established in their communities.
Boulet said work and volunteer incentives will be put in place to help organizations combat the labor shortage. This includes expanding access to pension plans and group insurance, particularly for new employees.
The plan also includes $4.4 million to improve training for people working in the nonprofit sector.
The plan also ensures training will be better adapted to the realities faced by organizations that serve Indigenous, English-speaking and disabled communities.
MORE WORK TO BE DONE?
The Réseau québécois de l’action communautaire autonome, a Quebec community action group, welcomed the tabling of Boulet’s plan, but believes the investments are too low compared to other sectors.
“The problem is that there is not enough money for the overall mission and that there are sectors that are left out,” said Caroline Toupin, coordinator of the group. “This is why many are disappointed and even angry, because the situation is critical on the ground, and this while the needs of the population are increasing.”
Boulet responded that the plan is not fixed and can be adapted over time.
The minister said the government will set up a table of community action partners to coordinate efforts among the various organizations.
“It will allow them to brainstorm, to give themselves a vision of the future of community action in Quebec and to see how we can better contribute to the vitality of society and the Quebec economy.”