Quebec’s provincial government is boosting funding for the co-operative sector in an attempt to support small and medium enterprises.
On 22 January the minister of labor, employment and social solidarity, Jean Boulet announced the provincial government would allocate CA$606,881 (£351,453) to the Quebec Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (CQCM).
The funding will help set up 10 co-ops active in human resources, to support other co-ops with challenges related to training and recruitment.
Each of these co-ops will need to include between five and 10 member enterprises. These will pool resources together and share costs to hire HR advisers or create a joint department for mutual benefit.
Mr Boulet said: “We are promoting the collective involvement of employers to meet common needs in terms of workforce or human resources management. In addition, the project will enable businesses to be more autonomous and implement sustainable solutions in the context of a scarcity of labour.”
The programme is particularly aimed at SMEs with five to 50 employees.
“The project announced today represents the most appropriate solution to help businesses that have few resources,” said Marie-Eve Proulx, minister for regional economic development and the Chaudière-Appalaches, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine regions. “SMEs in all regions of Quebec are experiencing the same difficulties in recruiting workers. By leveraging co-operative strength, they will be able to provide services and continue their growth.”
Gaston Bédard, president and CEO of the Quebec Council for Cooperation and Mutual Insurance, added: “At the end of the pilot project, we hope to have created more than a dozen employers’ co-operatives that will reflect the needs of each of the business communities.
“The employers’ co-operative is an innovative and integrated approach to support the economic base of Quebec represented by SMEs. The CQCM will be able to count on the expertise of the Coopérative de développement régional du Québec (CDRQ), which already supports entrepreneurs in the creation of co-operatives to lead this project.”