Desjardins announces new initiatives to help individuals and businesses in light of Quebec's fragile economic recovery


MONTREAL /CNW Telbec/ - The economy has started to recover in several Quebec regions, but it remains fragile. A new Desjardins study indicates that economic activity is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels before mid-2022. And even then, the recovery will depend on the scale of the second wave of COVID-19.

Desjardins has responded with an action plan to assist its individual and business members during this critical period. The plan includes a wide range of initiatives designed to meet the needs expressed by its members, such as extended relief measures and timely support to businesses experiencing hardship due to the pandemic.

"Desjardins continually seeks feedback from members and clients. As soon as the pandemic struck, we took action to provide assistance and reassure members and clients that we're committed to doing everything we can to help them get through these challenging times and manage their finances. Desjardins intends to continue playing an active role in the socio-economic recovery of our communities," said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group.

The initiatives outlined in the action plan build on those announced in April, such as the GoodSpark Fund, which will provide $150 million in assistance between now and 2024 to projects expected to drive socio-economic recovery across Quebec and Ontario.

Not all regions recovering at the same pace
Business activity started picking up as soon as lockdown measures began to ease in May. But it will take time for the labour market to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, according to a new economic study released by Desjardins. The speed and strength of the recovery will vary from one region to another.

The Bas-Saint-Laurent, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine regions will be slower to regain lost ground compared to other regions, as many of their key industries will likely continue to experience challenges. However, fast-rising commodity prices are an encouraging sign. The Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec regions should enjoy a faster recovery thanks to mining activity.

Even though things are looking up, a number of industries are still struggling, including hospitality (hotels and restaurants), retail and entertainment, due in large part to the challenges of applying social distancing measures.