The owner of the “Vite desSINs” pastry shop was refused financial assistance because she did not respect sanitary measures by opening her dining room last January despite the ban in force.
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It was in a letter she received on Friday that Stéphanie Hariot learned that Promotion Saguenay had refused to grant her the financial assistance she had requested last March, under the emergency assistance program for small and medium-sized enterprises, a program set up by the Ministry of Economy and Innovation to help businesses that have been affected by the closure order.
“My democratic freedom of expression is completely abolished in the simple fact that I speak, I die! It was stipulated that Promotion Saguenay, according to the policy of the funds, unfortunately could not grant me assistance because I had not respected the rules that you should not say anything publicly, ”exclaimed Stéphanie Hariot. , owner of “Vite des sins”.
Although the owner has met all the other eligibility criteria, the letter explains, by way of refusal, that “any company publicly claiming to contravene the rules in force to which it is subject in Quebec will have its request for financial assistance refused”. .
The director of Promotion Saguenay, Priscilla Nemey, added that “any company wishing to benefit or benefiting from this financial assistance must comply with all the standards, regulations, decrees and ministerial orders in force to which companies are subject to the Quebec. If the company does not respect these rules, it may see its request for aid refused, as well as if it publicly claims not to respect the rules in force”.
“Unfortunately, the policy is very clear on this subject,” she concluded.
On January 21, Stéphanie Hariot chose to open her dining room as a sign of protest against sanitary measures.
She assumed and paid the fine of more than $1,500 given to her for breaking the rules.
The owner therefore finds herself punished a second time for her stunt and wonders why.
“I said ‘at one point, that’s enough’ and as I said publicly on social networks and even said it on TV. It got a little bit more personal to me saying “well, you said it publicly so the government is punishing you”. Promotion Saguenay is obliged to follow the rules of the government because they depend on the government”, she claimed.
A total of 370 business files were processed under the emergency programs for small and medium-sized businesses in Saguenay. The economic development organization granted nearly $9.9 million in loans and non-repayable financial assistance to businesses in the region. However, this is not the case with the “Vite des sins” pastry.
“Me, what I conclude is that Promotion Saguenay or any entity like that must do the investigations on the media and social networks itself to see what the company has said. They spy on what we publish and if it doesn’t work according to government orders, well, they tick the little box: not admissible. And that’s what I call control, ”said Stéphanie Hariot.
“If I had remained in the shadows and had my customers eat as some restaurateurs did in secret, I would have had my subsidy. There, now, it’s not only that I don’t feel supported, but I feel “spotted” to say that she, she bothers too much, ”she added.
Despite all the backlash for defying health measures, Stéphanie Hariot does not regret having gone to the front. She adds that if she had to do it again, she would do it again. Despite this refusal, she does not intend to give up and will continue to operate her pastry shop, at least until the end of her lease, which will end in three years.