Canada: Relaunching The Northern Plan: Introduction Of The Bill To Establish The Société Du Plan Nord

Last Updated: November 3 2014
Article by Ann Bigué, Anne-Frédérique Bourret and Charles Côté-Lépine

The Government of Québec confirmed its intention to relaunch the Northern Plan by introducing Bill 11, An Act respecting the Société du Plan Nord, on September 30, 2014. Bill 11 reiterates the majority of the elements included in the former Bill 27, An Act respecting the Société du Plan Nord, introduced in 2011, which was examined by a parliamentary committee. However, Bill 11 contains new elements and incorporates differences when compared to the previous version.

Bill 11 establishes the Société du Plan Nord (the "Company"), whose mission is to contribute to the integrated and coherent development of the area covered by the Northern Plan (located north of the 49th degree of north latitude and north of the St. Lawrence River and the Gulf of St. Lawrence), in keeping with the principle of sustainable development and in accordance with the policy directions defined by the Government in relation to the Northern Plan. Thus, the current government has decided to replace the five-year action plans contemplated under the initial Northern Plan by policy directions.

Mission and powers

The mission and powers of the Société du Plan Nord provided for in Bill 27 are essentially reintroduced through Bill 11. They are: 

  • To coordinate, and contribute financially or otherwise to, the implementation of the policy directions;
  • To coordinate infrastructure projects and, if applicable, to engage in infrastructure development and operation, alone or in partnership, including as a rail carrier;
  • To assist and support local and Native communities in their development projects;
  • To advise the Government on any matter the latter submits to it.

However Bill 11 adds the following powers for the Company:

  • To carry out or contribute to research and development activities as well as activities to acquire knowledge of the area;
  • To contribute to maximizing the economic spinoffs generated by the development of the natural resources in the area covered by the Northern Plan, in accordance with Québec's intergovernmental and international trade commitments.

These additional powers will contribute to further expand the scope of action of the Company. 

Marketing office

Bill 11 provides for the establishment of a marketing office whose purpose is to communicate to Québec companies the needs, in terms of supply and equipment, of contractors operating in the area covered by the Northern Plan. The previous bill did not consider establishing a marketing office.

Sharing of private infrastructures 

Bill 11 contains another important addition. It states that any person may use a government-designated infrastructure that is fully or partially privately owned, and that is located on public land in the area covered by the Northern Plan. However, only the infrastructure for which construction began after the coming into force of the act will be subject to this provision. Bill 11 provides for dispute resolution mechanisms if the owner and a user of the same infrastructure cannot reach an agreement to share the costs for construction, maintenance and operations.

Strategic plan

As previously provided for in Bill 27, the Société du Plan Nord will prepare and submit to the Government for approval, a strategic plan setting out the objectives it is pursuing and the priorities it has established in accordance with the Government's policy directions relating to the Northern Plan.

Organization and Assembly of Partners

Bill 11 also introduces some changes to the bill introduced in 2011 regarding the organization of the Company. For example, it is no longer required that the head office of the Company be located in the area covered by the Northern Plan. It is, however, the creation of the Assembly of Partners that constitutes the main addition to the Société du Plan Nord. 

The Assembly of Partners results from the positive experience of the initial implementation of the Northern Plan and demonstrates a concern for the acceptability of the deployment of this plan in the area of the Northern Plan. Its role is to provide its opinion on any matter the Minister or the Company submits to it in relation to the Company's mission or activities. In particular, it is provided that the Assembly will give its opinion on the Strategic Plan of the Company before it is sent to the Minister. The Assembly may also provide advice and recommendations on its own initiative. The members of the Assembly of Partners are appointed by the Company who will ensure that its composition is representative of the relevant local and Native communities, and main sectors of activity. It is to be noted that the opinions of the Assembly of Partners are not binding on the board of directors of the Company.

Financing of the Société du Plan Nord

The Company will finance its activities out of the contributions it receives from the Government, the fees it collects, including the fees collected for the use of an infrastructure under its responsibility and the sums from the Northern Plan Fund. It should be noted that Premier Couillard announced on September 30, 2014, that the Northern Plan Fund's capitalization will be approximately CA$63 million for the current year, and will reach CA$2 billion by 2035. Indeed, the Northern Plan's horizon now stretches over 20 years, rather than the 25-year period contemplated at the time the Northern Plan was initially launched in 2011.

Next steps

It is expected that the majority of the provisions of Bill 11 will come into force on April 1, 2015, subject to certain provisions which will come into force 30 days after the date of assent of the Bill. The coming into force of some of these provisions is somewhat inconsistent, and this will likely be corrected during the course of enacting the bill. Special consultations will likely be held by a parliamentary committee in the upcoming weeks. Finally, it is to be noted that employees of the Ministère du Conseil exécutif assigned to the Secrétariat au Plan Nord will be transferred to the Company.


As expected, the implementation of the Northern Plan continues. Mr. Couillard's government seems determined to proceed with the implementation of all mechanisms required for the orderly deployment of the Northern Plan while the international business community continues to demonstrate its interest in this major plan.

About Dentons

Dentons is a global firm driven to provide you with the competitive edge in an increasingly complex and interconnected marketplace. We were formed by the March 2013 combination of international law firm Salans LLP, Canadian law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (FMC) and international law firm SNR Denton.

Dentons is built on the solid foundations of three highly regarded law firms. Each built its outstanding reputation and valued clientele by responding to the local, regional and national needs of a broad spectrum of clients of all sizes – individuals; entrepreneurs; small businesses and start-ups; local, regional and national governments and government agencies; and mid-sized and larger private and public corporations, including international and global entities.

Now clients benefit from more than 2,500 lawyers and professionals in 79 locations in 52 countries across Africa, Asia Pacific, Canada, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Russia and the CIS, the UK and the US who are committed to challenging the status quo to offer creative, actionable business and legal solutions.

Learn more at

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. Specific Questions relating to this article should be addressed directly to the author.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
25 Nov 2016, Seminar, Toronto, Canada

On Thursday, September 22, 2016, Dentons hosted a panel discussion about the management of liabilities and risks associated with environmental crises, including potential liabilities for directors and officers and provided insight into risk and liability techniques associated with environmental crisis management.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.