Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We thank you for inviting us to speak to you today about Canada Economic Development's supplementary estimates (B). My name is Guy McKenzie. I'm the deputy minister of CEDQ.
With me today from the agency are Manon Brassard, Vice-President, Operations, and Pierre Bordeleau, Director General, Corporate Services.
I hope our appearance will meet with your expectations and will answer any questions you may have with respect to increased funding for the Canada Economic Development Agency.
CED's mission is to promote the long-term development of the regions of Quebec, as stated in the legislation, “[...] by giving special attention to those where slow economic growth is prevalent or opportunities for productive employment are inadequate”.
It states that CEDQ “shall take such measures as will promote cooperation and complementarity with...Quebec and communities in Quebec”.
We provide direct assistance to Quebec's small- and medium-sized enterprises by offering them advisory services and financial support. We also assist regional business communities and the organizations that support them. To that end, we have 14 business offices located throughout the province.
Said action revolves around two main programs. First is community diversification, and second is business and regional growth.
The Community Diversification Program aims to foster the development and mobilization of communities; to support entrepreneurship and the creation or maintenance of enterprises; and, to encourage the development of tourist attractions.
The Business and Regional Growth Program aims to help enterprises improve their performance and engage in more innovation and export activities, and support the transfer of technology to enterprises.
The implementation of Canada's Economic Action Plan had an impact on our workload, but it did not seriously affect our programming. These initiatives were perfectly in line with our programming. For us, the EAP is essentially the implementation of the Community Adjustment Fund, or CAF, and the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program, or RInC.
First, let me say a word about CAF. The community adjustment fund aims to stimulate the economy or at least mitigate the impacts of the economic slowdown on communities.
The Community Adjustment Fund is $203.3 million in funding over two years. One hundred and fifteen million dollars went directly to CAF-Forestry. Quebec invested an equivalent amount. The allocations were spread over seven agreements with Quebec, which is the implementing authority for anything involving infrastructure. Sylvicultural projects received $100 million, and bridge and culvert restoration projects received $15 million.
CAF-CED is an initiative that aims to boost the economy through adjustment and diversification measures. Eighty-eight million dollars will go toward diversification projects. So far, $48 million is committed to more than 126 projects, creating 3,125 jobs, and there is $28 million for 53 projects currently under study.
As we speak, CED has committed almost 90% of its CAF budget, and almost 12,000 jobs have been created or maintained: 9,837 jobs were created and 1,741 were maintained, as at November 29 of this year.
The Recreational Infrastructure Program, or RInC, was announced in June 2009. Through this two-year funding program, the government will invest $500 million in the upgrading or restoration of Canada's recreational infrastructure. Of this amount, $113.2 million has been earmarked for Quebec. To this amount will be added a total of $280 million from the following partners: $111.2 million from the province; $166.8 million from municipalities and school boards; and, $2 million from First Nations.
CED administers part of the program, and its implementation is carried out by CED for the First Nations and by two government of Quebec ministries, namely the Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sport (MELS) and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy (MAROT). To date, of the $78.1 million received, $31.9 million has been committed to 92 projects.
I will take this opportunity to say a few words about CED responsibilities with respect to the infrastructure program. In Quebec, CED administers the following programs: the Building Canada fund and Recreational Infrastructure Canada.
CED also participates in the delivery of infrastructure programs which will be winding down soon, such as the Infrastructure Canada Program; the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund; and the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund.
This finally brings us to the agency's supplementary estimates (B). The additional funds requested, which are $10.8 million, fit very well with our programming.
CED has requested new funding to provide the Municipality of Shannon with drinking water. CED has also agreed to help the Municipality of Shannon complete the extension of its municipal water supply system, for a total cost of $13 million. CED acted quickly, without going through the Quebec agreements, as this was an emergency measure due to contamination of the municipality's drinking water system.
An investment of $3.75 million was necessary to renew sport facilities at Laval University. This funding has been awarded through the Community Diversification Program and will cover most of the costs involved, which amount to more than $6 million. The work includes replacing the synthetic surface of the stadium, the addition of a brand new scoreboard and the installation of three new synthetic surfaces.
CED's intervention in this project occurred before the Canadian University Football Championship which was held in November 2009. Quebec had already invested $37.5 million in the expansion of the Physical Education and Sport Centre (PEPS) at Laval University.
Third, we received funding for the RInC program operating budget, which is $966,000. Estimates include the RInC program management operating costs, which are $659,000 for salaries and $307,000 for operating costs.
Finally, we received $120,000 from DFAIT and Industry Canada to pay their share of Government of Canada funding for the hosting of the 2012 World Congress on Information Technology.
I hope these facts are of interest and use to you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and ladies and gentlemen.
We will now be pleased to answer any of your questions.