11/06/2014 01:32 EST | Updated 01/06/2015 05:59 EST

CLDs at risk after Quebec transfers responsibility to municipalities

The future of Quebec’s Local Development Centres (CLDs) — the organizations that offer advice and financial guidance to entrepreneurs — is in jeopardy.

CLDs are currently funded by the provincial government, but Quebec recently announced it wants to hand that responsibility over to municipalities, as part of its plan to decentralize regional governance. 

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said he will be able to cope with the new responsibility without cutting services or raising taxes.

But authorities in Longueuil and Laval have said on Wednesday they cannot afford to take over responsibility for CLDs without raising taxes or cutting services. 

But Minister of Municipal Affairs Pierre Moreau told CBC's Daybreak he doubts those claims.

Moreau said there are more than a dozen organizations on the Island of Montreal that offer services similar to CLDs.

"It's a little bit too much," Moreau said.

Cuts to CLDs could have 'huge impact' on economy

Nicolas Roy, the director general of the Dévelopement Economique West Island CLD, said the services his organization offers can’t be spared.

“Quebec’s economy is based first and foremost on [small and medium sized businesses]. So if there is a budget cut for CLDs ... it might have a huge impact on the economy,” Roy told CBC’s Daybreak.

The 120 CLDS across Quebec were created more than a decade ago to provide financial guidance and advice to small and medium sized businesses.

They act as a one stop shop, meant to help entrepreneurs and business-owners navigate provincial programs and subsidies.

“Starting a business is much more complicated than it can look in the first place,” Roy said.

“We see ourselves as wealth generators … We can create wealth for the province.”