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Press release

2003-2004 Budget
Three concrete measures
to support Québec businesses

Québec, March 11, 2003 - In tabling the 2003-2004 Budget before the National Assembly, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Economy and Research Pauline Marois announced the launching of the Québec Export Development Strategy, the Cooperative Development Policy and the Action Plan for the Development of Enterprises in the Social Economy.

These initiatives all have the same goal: to foster investment by Québec businesses, help them meet the challenges of the 21st century and create jobs.

Québec Export Development Strategy

Because exports represent an extremely valuable lever for economic development and because Québec businesses generally succeed in penetrating international markets-often a risky ordeal-the government is stepping up its support of Québec businesses in their efforts to increase their exports and thereby create jobs.

One out of four jobs in Québec is directly or indirectly related to exports; in the manufacturing sector, it is nearly three out of four jobs.

The Québec government will therefore allocate another $61 million over the next three years to encourage more Québec businesses to move into the international marketplace. The Québec Export Development Strategy confirms the government's intent to substantially change its way of supporting exporters. Through continuous support services tailored to businesses' needs, an enhanced government service supply and the establishment of an export network, the strategy will significantly bolster Québec exports.

Cooperative Development Policy

In Québec, non-financial cooperatives account for 35 000 jobs, which have the merit of being largely concentrated in outlying regions. The government today wants to give new impetus to this sector, which generates jobs and solidarity throughout Québec.

The new policy for the development of cooperatives, long awaited by the cooperative sector and socioeconomic partners, officially recognizes the special contribution these enterprises make to Québec's economic and social development.

It commits the Québec government to supporting cooperatives so that they can make a greater contribution to job creation and wealth. The reasons are threefold:

  • cooperatives help create jobs and generate major economic spinoffs in all regions of Québec;
  • their number of employees rose by 46% between 1995 and 2000;
  • cooperatives promote community cohesion by maintaining vital local services.

A total of $20 million will be devoted to implementing this policy over the next three years.

Action Plan for the Development of Enterprises in the Social Economy

The special support provided to enterprises in the social economy in the past few years is yielding spectacular results. The Québec model is today setting an example on the world stage. The social economy sector contributes substantially to Québec's development, accounting for close to 2% of our GDP and employing over 65 000 people. The bold action plan adopted by the government will enable it to pursue its efforts in support of social economy enterprises, which operate in a multitude of fields.

Whether in the personal services sector or the agri-food, forestry, culture and social tourism industries, the social economy is one of the most valuable assets of our society. The government's action plan supports the development of this sector through an injection of $20 million over three years.

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