Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), no changes were made to the eligibility criteria of any of the programs of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, including the community futures program, the program to fund the construction of a gas pipeline between Vallée-Jonction and Thetford Mines, and the Quebec economic development program, launched on April 1, 2012.
Budget information on the agency’s programs can be found in the report on plans and priorities at the following addresses: for 2011-2012, http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/rpp/2011-2012/inst/frd/st-ts01-eng.asp, and 2012-2013, at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/rpp/2012-2013/inst/frd/st-ts01-eng.asp.
With regard to (b), information related to submitted and rejected projects could be considered third party confidential information under the Access to Information Act and thus cannot be disclosed. Information related to disclosed projects can be found in the proactive disclosure section of the agency’s website at http://www.dec-ced.gc.ca/eng/disclosure/grant-contribution-awards/quarters.html.
The agency’s service standards require between 35 and 65 days to process a complete application from the day it is submitted until an answer is rendered.
With regard to (c) to (f), in view of the current state of the global economy, the government has to make a special effort to re-establish its budgetary position.
The agency contributes to the government’s goal of attaining a balanced budget by simplifying its programs and clients’ reporting, reducing its processing times and cutting red tape, and reorganizing its internal services for greater efficiency.
The agency’s contributions budget will return to much the same level as before the allocation of temporary programs.
The agency’s mandate to promote the economic development of Quebec’s regions remains aligned with the government’s priorities of the economy and employment. Its approach is geared to the challenges and assets of businesses and regions to enable them to participate fully in the economy.
The agency will continue to support the economic development of Quebec’s businesses and regions while enhancing client services and will continue to be present locally to work with organizations and partners.
To serve its clientele more effectively with advisers who are even more present in the field and to enhance its efficiency, the agency has consolidated its regional expertise according to the following: responsibility for northern Quebec has been assumed by the business office in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, since Val d’Or is a central point of connection with the north; the greater Montreal area is now served by a single business office, which will lead to the development of synergies in the delivery of programs and services in the metropolitan area; promoters from certain regional county municipalities in the Lanaudière, Laurentides and Montérégie regions are now served by business offices whose socio-economic issues are similar, in order to meet their challenges more effectively.
The impact of these measures on the agency’s number of full-time equivalents will be disclosed through the usual reporting mechanisms to Parliament, such as the 2012-2013 departmental performance report and the report on plans and priorities for 2013-2014.