Who are we






  • 1971-1979ORIGIN OF THE PROGRAM  [+]

    At the end of the 1960s, there was a surge in unemployment in different regions in Québec, due to an overall economic slowdown throughout the country. A number of strategies, coming from the grass roots, were seen to emerge to fight the problem. The federal government decided to support such strategies by injecting funds for programs especially designed to create jobs and develop the labour force in regions experiencing hardship. Slowly the idea of giving rural communities the tools they need to take charge of their own development took form.

    la fin des années soixante, on assiste à la montée du chômage dans les différentes régions du Québec, due au ralentissement

    Through an array of programs from the Local Initiatives Program (LIP –1971 to 1977) and the Local Employment Assistance Program (LEAP – 1972 to 1983) to Canada Works (CW – 1977 to 1980), Employment and Immigration Canada (EIC) surrounded itself with “street workers” who sought to find solutions to emergency situations. That idea came from the honourable Lloyd Axworthy, then a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, who saw the problems in his county and decided to remedy them. In fact, the OECD liked LEAP so much, it fashioned its international program LEED on it in 1982.

    From these initiatives, another idea took form in 1978-79, that of trying a whole new experience: providing communities with the funds they need to bring leaders into small corporations and granting them an investment fund to support the small businesses considered important to their community and that would be financially viable. This project, called Local Economic Development Assistance (LEDA), encouraged communities to take charge of their own destiny and introduced the notion of “from the ground up” in state intervention in local development.


    Introduced in 1980 under the liberal government, Local Economic Development Assistance (LEDA - 1980 to 1983) was the forerunner to the CFP. Two pilot communities first explored the measure in 1979: Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and Gainsborough in Nova Scotia. The idea was successful and, through pressure, six other pilot projects were launched in 1981 in several regions affected by a high and persistent unemployment rate. In Québec, the agency, ADEL Haute-Gatineau inc. was born on February 16, 1981. ADELIM des Îles-de-la-Madeleine followed when it signed a contract on March 24, 1981. Other projects in Canada included Bouctouche (New Brunswick), Kirkland Lake (Ontario), Battleford (Saskatchewan) and Hay River (North West Territories). A year later, on June 3, 1982, a third project got off the ground in Québec with the creation of the ADER de la Matapédia inc.


  • 1980-1983 LEAD CORPORATION [+]

    The success of these initiatives was such that the newly elected conservative government decided to implement a program for communities in difficulty. Its development was put into the hands of the Local Employment Assistance Program (LEAP) under the name, Local Employment Assistance and Development Corproations, better known as LEAD corporations. In 1983, the Local Employment Assistance and Development (LEAD) program completely replaced the LEDA program. From 1984 to 1986, 30 LEAD corporations were created in Québec. These corporations, mainly comprised of local entrepreneurs and financial institution members with resources devoted to economic development, geared their services solely to the small business sector under the mandate given to them. For the first time, communities and their representatives were empowered to make their own decisions. That had never before been seen!

    It quickly became obvious however that business development could not be undertaken in cultural and social isolation. Although LEAD corporations were playing an important role, their medium- and long-term impact was limited, in that their development strategies did not take into account the major issues confronting communities (absence of openings for young people and their migration toward larger centres, quality of services, demobilization of front runners and lack of infrastructures). It became apparent that a global development vision and strategic planning were needed. It was CFCs that would add that dimension.


  • 1986... LE PDC [+]

    Strengthened from the experience acquired through the LEAP, LEDA and LEAD programs, and impressed by how the community development system was working in Europe in the 1970s, the government decided to initiate a program designed to create Community Futures Committees (CFCs). CFCs would provide communities, individuals and agencies on the territory with information, planning and operational services specializing in local socio-economic development. By creating the Community Futures Program (CFP), the EIC wanted to correct any shortcomings from previous programs by involving and integrating all economic and social agents from every sphere of the community. This quotation taken from the first version of the program summarizes the government’s philosophy at the time:

    The CFP was intentionally designed by the EIC to, among other things, direct the government’s role toward that of a participant in a local process of analysis, empowerment and sustainable development rather than that of a government manager. The government wishes to foster the independence of communities through the reinforcement of local appropriation and the re-establishment of state intervention as a partnership contribution.” (courtesy translation

    The CFP offered CFCs the choice of five intervention components:
    1) a fund for community initiatives;
    2) the purchase of training in the form of professional training courses;
    3) assistance with travel expenses and job hunting;
    4) implementation of a Community Business Development Centre (CAE)
    5) encouragement of independent activity through a self-employment development program.

    From 1986 to 1995, 55 CFCs were implanted in Québec, along with 28 other LEAD corporations.


  • 1995 JOINING FORCES [+]

    LEAD corporations were therefore included in the new Community Futures Program (CFP) along with CFCs, and took the name Community Business Development Centres (CBDCs). Each one developed in a specific niche and had its own vocation: CFCs were devoted to local development, while CBDCs worked on job development and offered support to businesses. There was nevertheless a constant connection between the two, since both projects and clients were constantly traded back and forth. After several years, a marriage would become inevitable and in 1995, the 55 CFCs and 61 CAEs became Community Futures Development Corporations (SADCs)