business pages

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Subscriber pages
buttonspacer News Desk
buttonspacer Columnists
buttonspacer Editorial
buttonspacer Readers comment
buttonspacer Tenders

Demo pages
Here's a sample of what only subscribers see

Subscribe now
Subscribe to both hardcopy or internet editions of NNSL publications

Our print and online advertising information, including contact detail.

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Francophone association owes $752,000: president

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, April 25, 2011

IQALUIT - Nunavut's francophone association owes creditors about $752,000, a debt accumulated over three years as grants were misspent and bills went unpaid, said the president of the Association des francophones du Nunavut.

Eric Corneau said half the money is owed to the federal government and the rest owed to other agencies, private enterprises and individuals. The association also owes a former employee $40,000 for association bills she paid with her personal credit card.

"Verifications and audits that were done and some of the financial resources that were given to the francophone association were not spent appropriately," he said. "That essentially brought up some questions from the federal agencies and they've asked for some of the money back. Some of the other stuff has just been unpaid bills to private individuals and enterprise."

The association will negotiate an agreement with the federal government to pay back the debt over a certain period of time, he added, and members decided on April 18 to sell off one of the staff houses.

Although the sale will eliminate a "considerable" amount of the debt, Corneau said it will take a few years to pay it all off.

"It's a pretty substantial amount. It won't be all covered off with the sale of the house. It's going to write off a big piece but for sure, it's going to take a few years to come back," he said. "All of the debt we have accumulated, now we have to figure out creative ways to pay back that debt through self-financing activities."

But he added the association's existence is not in jeopardy. It currently has about 150 members.

"We definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "We are confident the association is going to continue to fulfil its mandate and its role in the community and it's going to be stronger than ever in a few years."

The association has a small fiscal surplus this year, said Corneau, and mechanisms have been put in place to ensure the misspending doesn't happen again.

Yoan Barriault, who is a member but did not attend the meeting on April 18, said he was not surprised the association announced it was in debt but does not know the details of how it came to be.

"Nonetheless, I will continue supporting the association," he said in French. "I participate a lot in community activities. As long as there is a place to do those activities, it is that side I consider really important with the association, more than the financial side. (The debt) is regretful but I hope it will get resolved."

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click to e-mail a letter to the editor.