Accelerating the green transition: a unique Canadian plan to help Quebec SMEs

News release

Gatineau, Quebec, December 15, 2022Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

Businesses that participate in the development of a sustainable and inclusive economy are better positioned to meet the expectations of consumers, workers and contractors with environmental requirements. It allows them to seize business opportunities and more easily meet their labour needs to ensure their growth while contributing to their communities’ well‑being.

A vehicle for prosperity

CED is convinced that the long-term competitiveness of the economy is largely dependent on innovation and on the greener and more inclusive growth of Quebec SMEs. While SMEs realize that they must adapt their business practices, they do not always have the resources or expertise required to put in place the necessary technologies, practices and investments.

To effectively assist SMEs in this transition to more sustainable business models, Government of Canada support must be aligned with investment principles that value responsible environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. This is why the Honourable Pascale St‑Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for CED, today announced a new ESG action plan and an ambitious roadmap to foster the emergence of a greener economy in the regions of Quebec.

New commitments at CED

CED will boost its support for the green transition of SMEs and their ecosystems by

  • doubling its annual funding target for projects that contribute to the environmental transition of SMEs and the regions, to $50 million within three years;
  • placing more importance on ESG criteria by adjusting its intervention parameters to increase funding for organizations that incorporate eco‑responsible practices into their operations, starting with more flexible conditions for SMEs that are taking action; and
  • setting up an advisory committee to support the Minister’s reflection on the green transition and the next milestones in the roadmap.

It should also be noted that over the coming months, CED will be working on an environmental grid to be applied to all its programs to help raise awareness among businesses and gain a better understanding of their needs and practices. At the same time, CED will also be working with its community partners to ensure that the SMEs in the various regions have the support ecosystems they need to proceed with their green transition.

By choosing to act today to support the environmental transition of businesses and regions, CED is actively helping Canada achieve its GHG emission reduction targets by 2030, while building a resilient, sustainable and competitive economy for the future.


“I am proud to announce that CED, for which I am responsible, will be the first regional development agency to provide customized services for businesses to assist them in the adoption of ESG practices. Our government will help SMEs finance their green projects and seek out the expertise they need to carry them out. This project is key to the competitiveness of our SMEs, since a growing number of their clients are demanding very high environmental standards that, for some small and medium-sized businesses, are proving difficult to achieve. This is where we come in, by meeting the needs of our entrepreneurs in order to build a greener, more inclusive economy and reinvent the economic development model for our regions.”

The Honourable Pascale St‑Onge, Member of Parliament for Brome‍–‍Missisquoi, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for CED

“I am honoured to have been asked to chair the advisory committee on the green transition of businesses, set up by the Honourable Pascale St‑Onge, Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions. The committee’s work will ensure consistency when it comes to needs, intentions and the implementation of solutions on the ground, and will help promote the sharing of expertise, experience and best practices. SMEs make up the bulk of our economy, so it is essential that we support and assist SMEs that are taking action. The integration by businesses of ESG factors and sustainable practices will directly contribute to the positive transformation of the economy to allow it to meet the needs of individuals and respect the limits of the planet.”

Geneviève Morin, Chair of the Minister’s advisory committee on the green transition of businesses

Quick facts

  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested $100 billion in climate action.
  • The Government of Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Delivering Clean Air and a Strong Economy for Canadians includes $9.1 billion in new investments and a series of new measures to put Canada on a path to achieving a truly sustainable economy and becoming a leader in the global transition to cleaner processes and technologies.
  • According to a 2022 survey by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, 90% of Canadian manufacturing SMEs have not begun their transition to net‑zero emissions. Yet, SMEs generate approximately 30% of Canada's total GHG emissions.
  • Over three years, CED will double its target for investment in strategic support for the environmental transition of SMEs and the regions of Quebec, up to $50 million by 2025‑2026.
  • The Minister’s new Green Transition Advisory Committee will be made up of interdisciplinary experts recognized for their in‑depth knowledge of environmental transition issues or for their experience in a successful environmental transition.
  • CED is the key federal partner in regional economic development in Quebec: present throughout Quebec, CED supports businesses and regions with a view to building a more resilient, stronger, greener and fairer economy that benefits all Canadians.

Associated links


Media Relations
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

Ariane Joazard-Bélizaire
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

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