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Desjardins gives $1 million to support 3 projects at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

August 10, 2022

Rouyn-Noranda, August 10, 2022 - Desjardins is giving $1 million to the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) to support 3 meaningful projects that contribute to socioeconomic development. Guy Cormier, President and CEO, travelled to Rouyn-Noranda to make the announcement in person.

UQAT is receiving $500,000 to ensure the continued activities of the Chaire Desjardins en développement des petites collectivités, UQAT's research chair dedicated to the development of small communities. The GoodSpark Fund is adding its own $500,000 contribution to help the university create an agricultural network that will make it easier to share knowledge and promote organic growing practices in the northern regions. The funds will also be used to create an interdisciplinary teaching and research clinic for healthcare and psychosocial services.

"UQAT shares our mission to contribute to the socioeconomic development and well-being of communities," said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group. "In fact, this research chair—the only one of its kind in Quebec—was created with our financial support in 1993. Today's financing is just as significant, because the projects launched with UQAT will positively impact not just the entire Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, but also other small communities throughout Quebec and Canada."

"Desjardins has been our partner for a long time, and has supported UQAT and its foundation for nearly 40 years. Thanks to them, we've carried out a number of large scale teaching and research projects," said Vincent Rousson, Rector of UQAT. "The contributions Desjardins is announcing today will support 3 meaningful projects in the community and strengthen the relationship we've cultivated over the years."

Chaire Desjardins en développement des petites collectivités ($500,000)
The chair's mission is to promote the development of small communities. It primarily focuses on social vitality, economic viability and political validation for small communities. The chair's work, carried out in tandem with communities, is intended to deepen the understanding of problems specific to small communities and build further expertise on development strategies.

The Réseau des fermes: A specialized network for organic field crop farmers ($250,000)
This project involves creating a specialized farming network that will bring together regional stakeholders in production, transformation and distribution to promote organic field crops in the area. It will position Abitibi-Témiscamingue as a provincial, national and international leader in organic farming of field crops in colder climates.

Interdisciplinary clinic for teaching and research in healthcare and psychosocial services ($250,000)
This project involves setting up an interdisciplinary clinic dedicated to developing innovative best practices for students and professionals in nursing science, psychoeducation, social work and art therapy.

$2.5 million in Abitibi-Témiscamingue
Since it was created, the GoodSpark Fund has provided $2.5 million to fund 17 projects in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. The projects supported by this fund provide real support to the communities around them, in addition to helping entrepreneurs launch and grow businesses by providing a host of resources they can use to support their goals. Here are some recent examples:

Espace d’accélération et de croissance de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue ($145,000) 
This regional business accelerator project involves creating 5 territory hubs that provide support to businesses facing different problems and issues. Regional players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem work together to encourage business growth, innovation and skills development.

Pharmacy technology program at Cegep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue ($70,000)
This project involves training pharmacy technicians at the Amos campus of Cegep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue. With this project, the CEGEP hopes to expand its college-level educational offer and improve training options in the ATNQ territory. It also intends to help meet pharmaceutical workforce needs in hospitals, community and institutional pharmacies, long-term care centres and dispensaries.

24/7 support – Setting up a regional crisis centre in Abitibi-Témiscamingue ($250,000)
This project involves the construction of a building that will host the very first crisis centre in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region specializing in suicide prevention, so community members can get in-person support whenever they need it. There are no resources currently providing this support in the area. 

Anisipi theme park ($250,000) 
This new tourist attraction highlights the region's natural beauty and cultural heritage. The theme park features several activities that emphasize the historical, structural and cultural importance of this natural resource. The tourist circuit also focuses on watershed formation and the importance of water preservation. The multimedia studio Moment Factory has created 4 immersive exhibits to educate and amaze visitors of all ages.

Lebel-sur-Quévillion snowmobile club ($50,000) 
Building a permanent bridge on the Taschereau River and updating this section of snowmobile trails will give a much-needed boost to the region's tourism industry. By consolidating and creating a permanent path across the river, developers are improving rider safety and water quality.

About Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
UQAT has been a close, committed and exceptional university for nearly 40 years. It offers more than 150 programs of study across its 3 campuses, 4 centres and numerous service centres. The university creates and shares a wide range of knowledge and contributes to skill development in order to support community growth in the territories it serves, as well as nationally and internationally. Through fundamental and applied research and creation, UQAT helps promote innovation and advance the arts, literature, technology and the sciences. The Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue is one of the top research universities in Canada, according to the independent firm RESEARCH Infosource Inc. (2021).

For more information (media inquiries only)
Marc-Antoine Lavoie
Public Relations

Geneviève Décarie
Information Agent
UQAT Communications and Recruitment Service
819-762-0971, ext. 2151