Federal government provides $2.4M for francophone organizations

The federal government is providing $2.4 million for francophone organizations, including $1 million for Sudbury's Place des Arts. (Lyndsay Aelick/CTV News)

Construction is well underway on the Place des Arts in downtown Sudbury, but like many construction projects during the pandemic, it has had its share of setbacks.

“There was a bit of delays with the COVID," said Leo Therrien, executive director of Place des Arts. "There was a provincial shutdown that occurred last year and then certainly the delivery of equipment and security issues that we have in downtown Sudbury.”

That’s why the federal government is stepping in to provide $1 million for the project.

“It’s important that we continue these investments,” Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre said at a news conference Thursday.

"During the pandemic, we invested a lot here in Canada and certainly in northern Ontario, but as we move forward from the pandemic -- still having our eye on the virus -- we still got to continue to invest.

"Creating these jobs, these opportunities, is key and certainly when we already had projects ongoing that were hit hard by the pandemic, we can’t back off now, Lefebvre added.

Place des Arts was just one of the organizations that received funding from the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) on Thursday.

Other groups sharing $2.4 million include the Conseil de la Coopération, Voilà Community Help, as well as the Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l’Ontario.

The projects receiving funding are expected to support more than 52 businesses, create or maintain up to 149 jobs, and maximize opportunities for development and growth in northern Ontario.

“There’s an envelope that we fought hard to increase," Lefebvre said. "We actually doubled it over the last six years to continue to investing. If we’re really serious about having a bilingual country, we need to invest in the infrastructure for those communities across the country and that’s what were announcing today -- Place des Arts here in Sudbury, French River and Thunder Bay.”