Government invests $2.1 million to support Francophone businesses in Western Canada

The federal government is investing $2.1 million in four economic development organizations that support Francophone businesses in Western Canada.

Of the $2.1 million investment, $1.8 million is intended for the four Francophone Economic Development Organizations (FEDOs) across Western Canada to establish and administer a new fund called the Pan-West Francophone Economic Development Fund. The rest of the $2.1 million is being administered directly to the four FEDOs, which are located in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, for a total of $75,000 per FEDO.

“[This] is an additional boost for the Francophone community in the West to help it thrive and succeed.

“We are helping businesses and communities affected by the pandemic to meet the challenges they are facing in this new reality,” said Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages Mélanie Joly. “[This] funding announcement is an additional boost for the Francophone community in the West to help it thrive and succeed in a post-COVID economy.”

The Pan-West Francophone Economic Development Fund is aimed to support small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as organizations and communities in the region. The four FEDOs administering the new fund will also each receive a $75,000 investment through the government’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to improve support services to Francophone businesses impacted by the pandemic. Additional details on the new fund have yet to be provided by the government.

The RRRF, originally announced in April, is meant to support regional and rural businesses that may not have existing relationships with financial institutions, or don’t qualify for other federal relief programs. The program has nearly $1 billion in federal backing, and is open to businesses in sectors that include manufacturing, technology, tourism, and “others that are key to the regions and local economies.”

FEDOs provide Francophone businesses with various services, including training, economic development, information services, marketing advice, networking, and mentoring. The FEDOs were brought into the Western Canada Business Service Network (WCBSN) in April 2001.

RELATED: FedDev commits $4.5 million to support Franco-Ontarian SMEs through regional recovery fund

The WCBSN is a group of independent organizations that receive funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada to help entrepreneurs in the region start and grow their businesses. The four FEDOs receiving federal funding include:

  • Société de développement économique de la Colombie-Britannique
  • Conseil de développement économique de l’Alberta
  • Conseil de la Coopération de la Saskatchewan
  • Conseil de développement économique des municipalités bilingues du Manitoba

“Through these investments, we are making sure Francophone businesses have access to the supports and services needed to re-open and prosper in the recovery stage of this pandemic,” said Terry Duguid, parliamentary secretary to the minister of economic development and official languages.

“WD’s valued partnership with the Francophone Economic Development Organizations is working to create meaningful support for Official Languages Minority Communities and ensure inclusive participation in Western Canada’s economy,” Duguid added.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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