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(Quebec) The new provincial government program, PACME, in a nutshell

After the Temporary Wage Subsidy for employers (10% subsidy to eligible SMEs), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the subsidy program of 75% for businesses that have seen a 30% decline in revenues, see our post on this subject) and the Canada Emergency Benefit (the $2,000 per week to eligible workers, see our post on this subject) of the federal government, the Quebec government announced yesterday the launch of the Concerted Action Program for Maintaining Employment (officially the Programme d’actions concertées pour le maintien en emploi) (the “PACME”), which follows the Temporary Work Assistance Program for Quebec Workers announced in mid-March (see our post on this subject).

This article summarizes the main features of the PACME.

What is the PACME?

The purpose of the program is to provide support to businesses that have experienced a decline in their operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a program of the Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale, offered in collaboration with the Commission des partenaires du marché du travail, which aims to provide direct financial support to businesses in order to promote training and the implementation of good human resources management practices. It also aims to optimize the operation of businesses on the labour market and help them get back on their feet more quickly once the situation has stabilized. Projects will be accepted until September 30, 2020, or until the budget envelope of $100 million is exhausted. 

It is therefore a very interesting tool for employers who already wanted to develop or update the knowledge and skills of their workforce.

What are the different components of the PACME program?

There are two components of the program: the business component and the group promoters component.

The business component provides direct assistance to businesses for their HR management and worker skills development activities. The objective is for businesses to take advantage of the current pause created by the COVID-19 pandemic to upgrade the skills of their workforce and to be ready for economic recovery.

The group promoters component aims to support organizations whose actions affect several businesses and people in employment to generate a multiplier effect. This component is intended to be flexible to enable promoters to respond quickly to the needs of their clienteles.

What are the eligible activities?

The training courses below are eligible for both the business and group promoters components, and it is strongly recommended that they be taken online or remotely in order to comply with physical distancing and other public health guidelines.

  • basic employee training
  • francization;
  • digital skills training;
  • continuing training related to the company's activities, whether or not directly related to the position held by the trained employee;
  • training recommended by professional orders;
  • training made necessary for the resumption of the company's activities;
  • training related to a strategy for adjusting or modifying company activities in the context of economic uncertainty related to COVID-19 that makes it possible to maintain or diversify the company's activities (health, teleworking, etc.);
  • training to enable the retraining of workers.

What are the eligible expenses?

A wide variety of expenses have been deemed eligible by the provincial government.

The following expenses have a ceiling:

  • the wages of workers in training (excluding payroll taxes), up to a maximum of $25/hour;
  • professional fees for consultants or trainers, up to $150/hour;
  • if applicable, costs related to management and administrative activities (bank charges, equipment, supplies needed to carry out the activities, etc.) borne by the delegated organization, up to 10% of eligible costs.

The following expenses are reimbursable at their actual cost :

  • indirect costs for trainers (travel, meals, accommodation, etc.);
  • indirect costs for workers in training (travel, meals, accommodation, etc.);
  • development, adaptation and purchase of teaching and learning materials;
  • the equipment and supplies needed to carry out the activities;
  • development and adaptation of training content;
  • the transfer from face-to-face training to online training;
  • registration fees or other costs related to the use of a platform;

Can the program be combined with other measures announced by the federal or provincial governments?

Yes, the PACME can be combined with other programs. It provides for the reimbursement of eligible expenses for business training projects based on the following percentages:

  • 100% of expenses of $100,000 or less;
  • 50% of expenses between $100,000 and $500,000; and

Eligible expenses are:

  • Reimbursement of salaries up to a maximum of:
    • 25% of the payroll of workers in training (maximum eligible wage of $25/hour), if the business receives Canada's emergency wage subsidy of 75%;
    • 90% of the payroll of workers in training, if the company receives the temporary 10% wage subsidy from Canada;
    • 100% of the wages of the workers in training, if the firm does not receive a federal government wage subsidy.
  • Reimbursement, up to 100%, of training expenses, related costs and costs related to human resources management activities, according to the applicable scales (e.g., professional fees).

For more information on the program or to register for it, we invite you to visit the Government of Québec's Web page here (only currently available in French). In addition, members of our Employment and labour team remain available to answer any questions you may have, related to the PACME, or any other questions you may have, whether or not related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check our COVID-19 Hub regularly for updates and additional information.



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