Joliette, March 11, 2020 - Desjardins has committed $2.1 million to 8 vital initiatives in Lanaudière. The announcement was made by Michel Cantin, Vice-President of Development and Partnerships at Desjardins, who was joined by caisse representatives from the region.

The money will come from the $100 million fund, which Desjardins created in 2016 to support key, forward-looking initiatives that will provide a socioeconomic boost for members and their communities.

"Today's announcement shows just how much working together can benefit our communities," said Cantin. "The $100 million fund is hard evidence of how member loyalty can bring socioeconomic change. We should all be proud of the amount being announced today, which will breathe new life into Lanaudière."

$700,000 for a sustainable wood pellet manufacturing plant

La Granaudière has already begun construction on a wood pellet manufacturing plant with a 200-kiloton capacity in Saint-Michel-des-Saints. In addition to its zero waste design, the plant will create 45 direct jobs and inject an estimated $35 million into the local and regional economies annually. Production is set to begin this summer. The company will export the product to Europe, with the first shipment of wood pellets setting sail from Quebec by the end of the year.

$500,000 in support of Les Amis de Lamater caregivers

For over 38 years, Les Amis de Lamater has helped people 50 and over who have varying degrees of independence. The money from the fund will go towards a new building, which will house an improved day centre and a temporary respite centre, taking some weight off caregivers' shoulders. In all, 24 respite rooms will become available, helping 900 people each year.

$373,549 for innovation through Living Lab

With the support of the economic development corporation of the Joliette RCM (Corporation de développement économique de la MRC de Joliette) and Desjardins, Living Lab Lanaudière has taken off. Its network of microlabs is making a splash not only in the Joliette RCM, but throughout the rest of the region, as well. Living Lab wants to turn local businesses into places where experiments can produce technological innovation in real time.

$250,000 for innovation through Lanaudière's regional business accelerator

Lanaudière's regional business accelerator (Espace régional d'accélération et de croissance de Lanaudière) encourages dialogue and collaboration between local and regional players in Lanaudière's entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. It focuses on the intersection of business services and existing infrastructure to leverage business opportunities throughout the region.

$109,911 for inclusive spaces at Joliette's Maison de la solidarité internationale

Funding for Joliette's Maison de la solidarité internationale will improve the services offered by Lanaudière's regional education committee for international development (CRÉDIL). The money will go toward improvements to the space that will foster intercultural learning among residents, businesses and organizations in the region.

$88,975 for professional training through Éducation Lanaudière

With Desjardins's support, Éducation Lanaudière will be able to launch a massive communication and promotional campaign highlighting all the professional training programs in the region. The organization will also advertise job vacancies and educational programs for careers in demand. Éducation Lanaudière launched a platform 5 years ago listing every professional, technical and university training program in the region.

$60,000 to promote responsible consumption through the Vie et Cie co-op

Vie et Cie is a cooperative grocery store that has embraced a concept that promotes responsible consumption. Their mission is to encourage people to buy local and organic while producing zero waste. A move into a new building at 931 Route Louis-Cyr in Saint-Jean-de-Matha, previously the site of L'Îlot Pirate, will ensure they can keep growing. The new location will help them do business with more local suppliers. The project is getting $50,000 from the $100 million fund and $10,000 from Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins.

$50,000 for innovation in the agricultural sector through the cooperative Novago

The agricultural cooperative Novago is equipping 150 fertilizer spreaders with GPS technology to better serve their members come spring. Desjardins's support lets them step up their tempo and get the equipment ready by the start of the season. With geolocation, Novago can monitor the spreaders in real time and facilitate logistics for the cooperative.

De gauche à droite en commençant par la rangée du bas : M. Jocelyn de Grandpré, Lanaudière économique pour l'Espace d'accélération et de croissance, M. Yan Légaré, Novago, Mme Josée Leclair, CREDIL, Mme Carole Tremblay, Coopérative de solidarité Vie et cie, Mme Noémie Blanchette-Forget, Living Lab, M. Michel Cantin, vice-président, Développement et Partenariats - Ouest du Québec chez Desjardins, M. Éric Ladouceur, Éducation Lanaudière, Mme Nicole Tremblay, Les Amis de Lamater, M. Yves Crits, La Granaudière

Rangée du haut : M. Joël Landry, Caisse Desjardins de Joliette et du Centre de Lanaudière, Mme Dominique De Smet, Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins, M. Alain Raîche, Caisse Desjardins Pierre-Le Gardeur, M. Denis Morin, Caisse Desjardins de Terrebonne, Mme Louise Rochefort, Caisse Desjardins du Nord de Lanaudière
From left to right, strarting with front row : Jocelyn de Grandpré, Lanaudière économique pour l'Espace d'accélération et de croissance, Yan Légaré, Novago, Josée Leclair, CREDIL, Carole Tremblay, Coopérative de solidarité Vie et cie, Noémie Blanchette-Forget, Living Lab, Michel Cantin, vice-président, Développement et Partenariats - Ouest du Québec chez Desjardins, Éric Ladouceur, Éducation Lanaudière, Nicole Tremblay, Les Amis de Lamater, Yves Crits, La Granaudière
Back row : Joël Landry, Caisse Desjardins de Joliette et du Centre de Lanaudière, Dominique De Smet, Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins, Alain Raîche, Caisse Desjardins Pierre-Le Gardeur, Denis Morin, Caisse Desjardins de Terrebonne, Louise Rochefort, Caisse Desjardins du Nord de Lanaudière

For journalists only: Jean-Benoit Turcotti
418 835-8444 or 1 866 835-8444, extension 5568225
media@desjardins.com