Women’s leadership: Government of Canada contributes to growth of two Sherbrooke businesses

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SHERBROOKE, QC, March 16, 2023 – Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

Élisabeth Brière, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, on behalf of the Honourable Pascale St–Onge, Member of Parliament for Brome–Missisquoi, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for CED, today announced CED’s financial support for INTER FONCTION LTD. and Industries G.E. Gilbert inc. to acquire new equipment to help improve their productivity. INTER FONCTION is receiving a repayable contribution of $300,000, while Industries G.E. Gilbert is being granted a repayable contribution of $445,000. These investments will enable the two Sherbrooke SMEs to continue to expand.

Founded in 1990, INTER FONCTION manufactures high-end aluminum and glass interior doors. It was in 2014 when Johanne Tousignant acquired the business, with her son, Ian Tardif, and her spouse, Sébastien Fournier. Together, and with a constant focus on innovation, they have been able to bring the business to another level, and this despite the pandemic. The CEO takes to heart the well-being of the 40 members of her team, which she considers to be a family; she wants to provide them with an optimal work atmosphere so they can thrive and develop their skills to the maximum, thereby contributing to the business’s success.

Founded in 1975, Industries G.E. Gilbert specializes in high–precision machining and welding of steel and cast parts for major prime contractors in the electricity and mining sectors. Since Pascale Leblond acquired the business in 2010, G.E. Gilbert has undergone significant growth. The CEO masterfully led two expansion projects and several equipment acquisition projects that have enabled the business to grow from 17 to over 50 employees, who are a central focus for her.

Women such as Johanne Tousignant and Pascale Leblond play an instrumental role in the country’s economic development. Following International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8, the Government of Canada wishes to showcase their leadership and know–how, which are essential in building a Canadian economy that is stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive.


“Today’s announcement is proof once again of our government’s commitment to women-led SMEs in Quebec’s regions. By helping INTER FONCTION and Industries G.E. Gilbert to acquire what they need and stay at the cutting edge of new technologies, we are enabling them to grow and remain competitive, creating and consolidating good–quality jobs here in Sherbrooke. Congratulations to both businesses, and to their leaders, who are contributing to their success!”

Élisabeth Brière, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“Our government has set itself the mission to support the growth of Canadian businesses and the economic diversification of communities, which cannot be done without the key contribution of committed women leaders. SMEs such as INTER FONCTION and Industries G.E. Gilbert are key drivers in our economy and our communities. I am delighted with CED’s support for the growth projects by these two thriving businesses. Their success will contribute to Sherbrooke’s economic vitality.”

The Honourable Pascale StOnge, Member of Parliament for BromeMissisquoi, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for CED

“It is with great pride that we are able to count on the support of partners such as CED as we pursue our development. This is the second time the CED team has played a role in our projects, placing their trust in us. It is a mark of recognition and an exceptional leitmotiv to invest in the present for the future. Because TO BE means to bring together everyone’s potential to achieve what cannot be done alone. On behalf of my two joint stakeholders and myself, I thank CED, the members of our team who surpass themselves every day, and all those who have confidence in our projects.”

Johanne Tousignant, CEO, INTER FONCTION LTD.

“We are keeping our business competitive by modernizing our equipment and acquiring the latest technology. Thanks in part to CED, we remain competitive and innovative. CED’s assistance has enabled us to acquire a new Integrex tower, which has a larger machining surface and cutting-edge technology for up to 75% machine programming.”

Pascale Leblond, President, Industries G.E. Gilbert

Quick facts

  • The 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 regional business offices, CED accompanies businesses, supporting organizations and all regions across Quebec into tomorrow’s economy.

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SOURCE Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

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