Year of successes and worries for RDÉE PEI in 2012-2013
Funding finally renewed and major projects begun
SUMMERSIDE, PEI – June 25, 2013 – While the RDÉE Prince Edward Island team was keeping busy supporting or implementing projects and initiatives that generated $927,604 in economic benefits for the Island’s Acadian and francophone community in 2012-2013, RDÉE administrators were quite worried about the organization’s future funding since several of their partners had their funding slashed.
“The Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality was nearing its end. The word coming down the pike at the national level was that the funding to all RDÉEs would possibly be renewed but with severe cuts,” said Bonnie Gallant as she delivered her executive director’s report during RDÉE PEI’s annual meeting in Summerside June 25.
“We were finally able to start breathing normally when we were informed that our contract for the year 2012-2013 would be extended by three months and, when the federal budget would come down and sums would be allotted, we would be able to submit our funding proposal for the last nine months of the new year,” she continued. “Luckily, the new Roadmap and its Enabling Fund for Official Language Minority Communities granted us exactly the same operational funding as we received last year. We are therefore extremely grateful for this funding and sincerely thank Human Resources and Skills Development Canada for its contribution.”
She noted the Enabling Fund has been renewed for five years, which is extremely reassuring.
In his report, RDÉE PEI president Martin Marcoux also expressed the fact that the year has been filled with “upheavals and uncertainties” as RDÉEs all across the country were awaiting word on their funding. He is therefore quite pleased that the negotiating and lobbying that was done before the federal government by RDÉE Canada bore fruit.
“However, once we were able to wipe our brow, we realized that we would now be called upon to take on some of the roles that had been previously played by our partners that had lost their funding, namely the Conseil de développement coopératif de l’Î.-P.-É. and the Baie Acadienne Development Corporation. With help from the Wellington Rural Action Centre (RAC), we are confident that we can fill in some of the gaps.”
And speaking of the RAC, the RDÉE was asked if it could take on the administrative supervision of the centre since its former supervisor, the Baie Acadienne Development Corporation, no longer has any administrative staff.
PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES
In spite of everything that transpired during the year, the RDÉE – the provincial francophone economic development council – feels it is quite lucky since it received additional funding to carry out several major projects.
In fact, during the course of the year, the RDÉE managed funds and projects surpassing the $1 million mark. The objective of not-for-profit organizations such as the RDÉE is of course to spend the received funds to help the community and to end the year without profit or loss. For this past year, the RDÉE took a tiny $141 deficit for the year, according to its financial report.
One of the major projects of the year – the LIENS project (whose French acronym stands for Linking Economic Immigration to our Successes) – aims to stimulate the provincial economy by helping Island employers who have difficulty finding qualified staff to fill these specialized positions. It offers the option of hiring qualified immigrants.
The LIENS project began with information and training sessions for employers along with the production of several promotional tools during the past year. The next phase will include paid work placements for immigrants; this program will be quite similar to the PERCÉ Program. The project also foresees a huge national immigration conference over the coming year.
The project that had a special place in everyone’s heart this year was without a doubt the project seeking to help “bilingualize” Souris businesses. “It is so beautiful to see an assimilated Acadian community that wants to regain its French language and that is making concrete steps in this direction,” said the executive director. “Business operators are realizing that tens of thousands of Quebec tourists, heading to the Magdalen Islands ferry, are passing right through their neighborhood but not stopping in. Practically the only ones getting any economic benefit from all this traffic are those who have signage in English and French and who offer basic bilingual services. It has therefore been a pleasure for us to collaborate with various initiatives supporting this project, including the organization of a symposium on bilingualism in business.”
Activities associated with the International Year of Co-operatives, Co-op Week and Small Business Week also demanded a lot of the RDÉE team’s time this past year. The team of course also put a lot of effort in the delivery of various youth employment and entrepreneurship programs, such as PERCÉ, Young Millionaires, Junior Achievement and the Youth Services Co-op, along with the “French for the Future” career fairs. The organization of activities for the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI also take a lot of time.
“So as you can see, nobody is sitting idling away their time at the RDÉE,” commented Gallant, after reviewing the long list of activities described in the annual report.
CUTLINE: Four counselors were elected to the RDÉE PEI board of directors during the organization’s annual meeting June 24. There are, from left, Léo-Paul Arsenault (entrepreneurial – Evangeline), Donald DesRoches representing the Collège Acadie Î.-P.-É. (community – human resource development), Réjeanne Arsenault representing the Evangeline Tourism Association (community – tourism), and Martin Marcoux (entrepreneurial – Charlottetown).
For more information:
RDÉE Prince Edward Island
(902) 854-3439, Ext. 232