MONTREAL — The Quebec fashion industry got a pleasant surprise Tuesday at the launch of Montreal Fashion Week when the Quebec government announced it would inject $82 million into the sector over the next three years to help designers and manufacturers compete more effectively globally.
The package includes $29 million in new funding as well as previously announced money earmarked for the struggling sector which has seen the loss of 25,000 manufacturing jobs in the last five years.
The cash infusion includes $15 million for export market development and marketing, $15 million to support businesses that have devised new strategies to sell internationally, $40 million to implement new technology, $3 million to promote Montreal as a fashion center and $8.7 million for worker training.
The clothing sector here has been hit hard by low-cost Chinese imports and the rise of the Canadian dollar now worth more than the greenback, up from 62.5 U.S. cents in 2002. Despite these new realities, Quebec still accounts for 60 per cent of Canada’s apparel production, accounting for 28,000 jobs and Montreal remains North America’s third-largest manufacturing sector behind New York and Los Angeles.