As part of its commitment to the ecological transition, Montréal is funding projects that help to reduce greenhouse gas emission. The new subsidy program for sustainable development and mobility projects is a core objective of this commitment.
The program, which was launched in the fall of 2021, has been part of the city’s reflection process for some time. “Before the pandemic, we were already working on this project, and the context of the past few months has shown us that this subsidy is more important than ever,” said economic development commissioner Catia Dos Santos. “With the pandemic and all the challenges businesses were facing, the green transition took a back seat.”
$8 million for companies
The program has an $8 million budget that will be divided between different application periods. For the first year only, $4 million will be available to help businesses. The subsidy corresponds to 50 per cent of the cost of the project, up to $1 million, and 50 per cent of professional fees, up to $125,000 or 12.5 per cent of the cost of the project.
The subsidy rate is also increased to 60 per cent when the project involves a social economy business or small business (10 employees or fewer), or when most goods and services rendered come from a social economy business or small business.
A flexible program for maximum innovation
There are a number of advantages for a company delving into a sustainable development or mobility project. “There may be an economic gain if, for example, the project reduces water or energy consumption. Projects can also create a sense of belonging for employees and help us to retain labour,” said Dos Santos. She believes that noteworthy achievements that offer innovative solutions can become great communication tools for companies.
To submit a project, a company must be located in a city-designated area. The initiative must also meet at least one of the program’s ecological objectives, such as promoting sustainable transportation of merchandise, improving waste management or reducing heat islands.
Three categories of projects
Projects can be of many different types, as the three categories of the program cover a broad spectrum.
For the construction and renovation of a building or lot category, for example. adding a green wall, building a green or white roof and adding bike paths are all projects that could be submitted.
For the building equipment installation or modification category, projects could include charging stations for electric vehicles or bike racks, changes to a lighting system or replacing faucets with water-saving models.
For the development of digital or physical tools or implementation of a service category, examples of projects include setting up a composting system, organizing a bike repair workshop for employees or launching a Web platform to share delivery trucks.
Projects are not limited to these examples, said Dos Santos. “We created the program to give companies flexibility and meet their special needs. We wanted to leave room for innovation and creativity. With the tools and budget we have to offer, we think there are going to be some fantastic projects.”
Open to small projects
The financial assistance program isn’t limited to large projects. Initiatives of a more modest proportion can be proposed as long as they offer significant economic benefits. An evaluation grid is used to grade projects according to their alignment with program objectives. Subsidies are then awarded to the projects with the most points.
“This subsidy program has some other special features,” explained De Santos. “For example, we allow several companies to join forces to present a shared project. They can also designate representatives, such as professionals or non-profit organizations, to manage their project.”
All winners can participate in a maximum of three free consultations with design professionals selected by the city, who can help them take their project to the next level. The objective is for companies to be able to deliver high quality projects at the lowest cost.