On September 30, 2014, the Québec government introduced a
bill (the "Bill") to the National Assembly for the
creation of the Société du Plan Nord (the
"Société"), marking an important step
forward in its initiative to revive the Plan Nord. The Bill's
principal objective is the creation of the
Société, a state-owned corporation charged with
overseeing and coordinating the government's plans to develop
the territory north of the 49th parallel ("Northern
The Centre of the Northern Economy
The Bill gives the Société the power and the
resources it requires to:
Establish the government's guidelines and budgets with
respect to the redevelopment of Northern Québec;
Coordinate the build-out of infrastructure in Northern
Québec, either alone or in partnership with others; and
Implement and contribute to research and development with
respect to mineral resources to be found in Northern
The Société will also have a marketing office
tasked with keeping Québec businesses informed of
ongoing equipment and supplier needs in Northern Québec.
Financing for the initiatives is expected to come through income
generated by the Société's investments, and from
the Fonds du Plan Nord, which will itself be funded
through tax revenues generated in the region.
The First Step of the Re-Launch
The creation of the Société is the first of
several measures announced in the Québec government's
2014-2015 budget on June 4, 2014. Other initiatives include:
An endowment of $63 million in 2014-2015 to the Fonds du
Plan Nord, funding which could reach $2 billion by 2035;
The creation of Capital Mines Hydrocarbures, an
investment fund of $1 billion which will allow the government to
take equity positions in the mining and oil and gas sectors;
$20 million to participate in a feasibility study on the
construction of a new rail line to provide access to the Labrador
A $100 million investment in educational facilities
to support the academic and vocational success of the
population of Northern Québec, and for
the training of skilled workers;
A $3.2 million commitment to revive the Québec Tourism
Strategy in Northern Québec; and
A $3 million fund to create a northern research and
The budget also contemplated the establishment of a committee to
develop a strategy to speed up the provision of natural gas to
Northern Québec by land and by sea.
The introduction of the Bill comes alongside the
government's announcement that it will invest $50 million in a
new subsidiary of Québec natural gas distributor Gaz
Métro which markets liquefied natural gas, further
signifying the government's commitment to the sector.
Adoption of the Bill marks an important step towards the revival
of the Plan Nord. While the plan for revival does not meet the
original 2011 plan in terms of scope and scale, the Québec
government's plans for the development of Northern
Québec remain ambitious, giving investors a reason to be
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