Official opposition in Montreal is urging the city to streamline administrative processes for businesses, particularly to more easily complete grant and grant applications. The party will submit a corresponding application to the next city council on October 24, 2022.
The councilor of the district of Tétreaultville, Julien Hénault-Ratelle, took the initiative after a meeting with several actors involved in economic and commercial development.
“We found that one of the most prominent issues was precisely the City of Montreal’s support in all administrative procedures and the quantity of documents required for the various requests,” he explained in a telephone interview.
In particular, he wants the City of Montreal to come up with an action plan with “clear and quantified” goals to allow for administrative relief. She also proposes setting up a central electronic counter to centralize and facilitate inquiries and exchanges with companies.
“We see inflation and labor shortages having an even bigger impact on businesses. In our opinion, this justifies the need to move forward,” stressed Mr Hénault-Ratelle.
As early as 2018, an advisory board commissioned by the city recommended “simplifying the regulations and making inquiries easier to process” for retailers in its report entitled Reconnecting with street commerce, a priority project.
Last August, several merchants denounced the city’s bureaucratic clumsiness to the author of these lines. Agrigourmet’s owner, Ghislain Prud’homme, for example, had only received $101 in financial assistance as part of a program to compensate companies affected by construction sites. This is after paying $2,000 in accounting fees to complete the required paperwork.
“It’s one thing for the city to think about and see what they can do. But it’s very important to come and listen to the players on the ground, those who live the situation day by day,” recalled Mr Hénault-Ratelle.
The Plante administration points out that the application will be discussed in the next municipal council.
“Supporting entrepreneurs has been a priority since the beginning of our administration. In addition to their contribution to the economy of the metropolis, they contribute to the vitality and quality of life in our neighborhoods,” said Marikym Gaudreault, press officer in the mayor’s office.
She adds that the city administration has often shown itself to be “agile” in order to make life easier for small and medium-sized companies, especially during the pandemic.
“We will continue to support this sector to meet its needs because for us, vibrant, diverse and healthy commercial streets are part of the sustainable neighborhoods vision we have for Montreal,” she added.
For his part, Quebec Vice-President for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, François Vincent, sees the opposition’s initiative “with a good eye”.
He said that alongside the recent pandemic and inflation, companies are facing labor shortages, which are also affecting the administrative side.
“As a result, business leaders are working longer hours. Everything that has to be done in terms of administrative formalities takes on even greater weight than before,” he said.
According to his statements, the federal and state governments have already initiated a turnaround in order to reduce the bureaucratic burden for companies. He hopes that the municipal level will follow suit.
“The administrative and regulatory burden is inversely proportional to the size of the company. The smaller you are, the higher your regulatory compliance costs will be,” he summarized.
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