Quebec announces $70 million financial lifeline to sports and recreation

The Quebec government is pumping $70 million into sports and recreation across the province after public health measures put the brakes on most group activities last spring and again this fall in red zones. “It’s important that sports in general were recognized with this money,” Soccer Quebec Director General Mathieu Chamberland said. “To help with the impact this has had on sports, now with the second stoppage of activities.” Last Thursday Isabelle Charest, the province's minister responsible for sports announced an infusion of 470 million into sports and recreation to help sustain their operations. Since last March Amateur sports has been hit with suspension of activities, fewer registrations plus added expenses of operating to meet public health measures put in place by COVID-19. "This help is necessary," Isabelle Charest said during the announcement. "My goal is to provide the needed support so the population can continue to participate in sports and recreation activities outdoors." Of the $70 million, $23 million will go to sports federations, $8 million will help support the operation of provincial, regional and local organizations. Federations will be able to lend aid to the regional bodies as well as at the club level with the monies they receive. “My principal concern is to help the clubs at the regional soccer associations,” Chamberland said. “They did tremendous work all this summer to get the kids back on the field. We need the organizations when we get the green light to go back.” Another $17 million will be invested in projects supporting physical activity, recreation sports and the outdoors, while $4.3 million towards transportation to and from recreational and sports activities. College and University sports, which announced more postponements of league play this week, will get $2 million to support their programs. There will be an increase of $2 million to help local and regional initiatives for sports activities. More than $1.3 million is targeted to promote the advancement of women and girls in sports and recreation. The importance of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) as an entity was recognized with a $12 million slice of the pie, which translates into $1 million per Quebec based team. Charest was questioned about this decision, which she defended by noting the importance of the QMJHL in the province and of the sport of hockey in general. “It was $12 million that we were able to go get from the treasury board,” Charest said. “We also have to understand the league is a motor of economic development in many regions.” The update on October 28 will see if there will be a return to team sports or if the shutdown will remain in place.

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