Canada helps two Côte-Nord businesses enhance their productivity

From: Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

Sept-Îles, Quebec, October 19, 2020 – Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

With the country being affected by a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the priority is to act, especially by supporting the economic recovery and boosting SMEs affected by the impacts of an uncertain situation.

Several measures have been put into place by the Government of Canada in recent months to support SMEs throughout the pandemic, but its support was clearly present before the crisis as it honoured its commitments to stimulate growth, innovation and exports.

With this in mind, Élisabeth Brière, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke and Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), today announced assistance from CED for two Côte-Nord businesses, Les Crabiers du Nord and Distillerie Puyjalon. The Government of Canada’s support focuses more specifically on refitting work and the acquisition of equipment to enhance productivity.

Automation to process seafood

Les Crabiers du Nord inc. is based in Portneuf-sur-Mer, a Côte-Nord village with a population of about 600. It has a high-tech processing plant that relies on the know-how of 105 employees. The team specializes in processing seafood (snow crab, Stimpson’s surf clam, whelk and halibut). Their production flows into U.S., Japanese and Canadian markets.

Côte-Nord seafood processing plants must face several challenges, including variations in quotas, market prices, supply costs and a difficulty to recruit. Mechanizing and automating operations have thus become key to success in the industry.

The $306,117 repayable contribution granted by CED has enabled Les Crabiers du Nord to acquire automated and digital equipment for use in packaging, cooking and packing operations, as well as to modify its facilities to install the new equipment.

Assistance to meet growing demand

Distillerie Puyjalon inc. was founded in 2018 by four young entrepreneurs, including two women, living in Minganie in the municipality of Havre-Saint-Pierre. The spirits sector is marked by growing competition around microdistilleries. In the specific category of gin, the Société des alcools du Québec has 167 products, most of which come from abroad. To these major players can be added some 60 Quebec products, including Distillerie Puyjalon’s “Betchwan” gin, a spirit imbued with the local flavours of the Côte-Nord region that has won at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition.

The $296,000 repayable contribution granted by CED has enabled the young business to acquire production equipment (still, production vessel, fermenters, bottlers and other) in order to boost its productivity and production capacity at a time when it is no longer able to meet the demand for its products.

Communities must leverage innovation to diversify strategically and develop sustainable regional competitive advantages. In this sense, supporting communities as they transition and diversify is a priority for the Government of Canada.


“Businesses such as Distillerie Puyjalon and Les Crabiers du Nord illustrate entrepreneurs’ willingness to carve out a distinctive place for themselves in the regional economy. These businesses are the pride of Côte-Nord, and we are here to support these workers and SMEs established across Quebec’s different regions. We have been here to help Quebec SMEs grow, and we will continue to support them in this time of crisis so they can pull through stronger.”

Élisabeth Brière, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

“These Côte-Nord businesses have been able to demonstrate their know-how brilliantly, adapting to the reality of a changing market and growing demand. Among other things, CED aims to boost the competitiveness of such innovative businesses through, for example, the acquisition of equipment they need to grow. We have supported the expansion of Canadian SMEs and their teams; we will also be here to help them make it through the crisis the pandemic has brought to these workers and entrepreneurs.”

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Member of Parliament for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CED

“Les Crabiers du Nord is infinitely grateful to CED for its financial contribution and significant involvement in our project. This will enable us to expand our range of tertiary products and increase our share of the market in Quebec and in Canada. For our business, this step marks the beginning of the future for how our products are developed.”

Gilles Gagnon, Director General, Les Crabiers du Nord

“With CED’s assistance, we can now move ahead more quickly by completing our second phase of investment and acquiring all of the equipment we need to diversify our product offering and automate our bottling.”

Mario Noël, President, Distillerie Puyjalon

Quick facts

  • Today’s announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.

  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly is the minister responsible for the six regional development agencies (RDAs), including CED.

  • Funds have been granted under CED’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program. This program targets entrepreneurs leveraging innovation to grow their businesses and enhance their competitiveness, as well as regional economic stakeholders helping to create an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation and growth for all, across all regions.

  • CED is a key federal partner in Quebec’s regional economic development. With its 12 business offices, CED is present to accompany Quebec businesses, supporting organizations and regions into tomorrow’s economy.

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