Canada: Québec Government Relaunches Plan Nord

On April 8, 2015, Québec's premier announced the relaunch of Plan Nord.

The Québec Plan Nord was first introduced by the Québec government in 2011 as a long-term program for the social and economic development of Québec's northern territory. It is now officially back on the province's agenda. On June 4, 2014, the government, in the presentation of the 2014-2015 budget plan (the "2014-2015 Budget"), announced that Plan Nord would be relaunched, and on April 8, the government presented its new Plan Nord.

Northern Québec covers an area of 1.2 million square kilometers, equal to 72% of Québec's land. With its vast untapped natural resources and significant energy potential, Northern Québec requires the construction of roads and rail lines and other infrastructure to support related industry, serve northern communities, and develop its tourism potential. The government has set an objective to invest $50 billion in the Plan Nord by 2035.1 

In the spirit of promoting sustainable development, the Québec government has also committed to ensuring that biological protection and conservation measures are implemented in order to safeguard 50% of Plan Nord's territory.2 The relaunch of the plan is a sign of the government's commitment to realizing the sustainable development of Northern Québec — a potential source of significant business opportunities for local and international investors.

Measures taken by the government

Investments announced in the 2014-2015 budget

In the 2014-2015 Budget, the Government announced the creation of the Capital Mines Hydrocarbons fund, a $1-billion fund to acquire equity stakes in companies that extract mineral substances from land in the province.3 In addition, the 2014-2015 Budget provides that a sum of $20 million will be invested in a study to develop a new multi-user rail line to ensure better access to Northern Québec.4 Furthermore, the Government is looking to invest $100 million for training aboriginal populations, including establishing suitable educational facilities and training skilled workers to meet the additional labour needs.5 The Government is also planning to invest $3.2 million to support the implementation of the Québec tourism strategy established for Northern Québec.6

Development of Plan Nord in the 2015-2016 budget

The government recently released the 2015-2016 budget plan outlined in a document titled "The Québec Economic Plan."7 It announced the outcome of its investments in Plan Nord in 2014, and reiterated its commitment to continue the promotion and the development of Northern Québec.8 In summary, the government invested nearly $75 million to implement promising and strategic initiatives to develop and access Northern Québec last year. For the next five years, the government envisions an investment of $356.7 million in the Fonds du Plan Nord, dedicated to the development of Northern Québec.9 The Québec Economic Plan also provides various measures to promote mining exploration — including, among other things, renewing the mandate of the Société d'investissement et de diversification de l'exploration minière to promote the exploitation of mineral resources in the Plan Nord territory, and improving geoscientific knowledge of the territory.10

Plan Nord toward 2035, 2015-2020 Action Plan

On April 8, 2015, Québec's premier, along with the minister of energy and natural resources and minister responsible for the Plan Nord and Côte-Nord Region, revealed The Plan Nord toward 2035, 2015-2020 Action Plan.11 The Action Plan announced a long-term vision and a series of priority actions that will be implemented over the next five years. 

In summary, the priority actions for 2015-2020 are:

  • Re-establishing a context conducive to mineral development based on a wide range of resources
  • Diversifying and promoting products from the forest environment and implementing integrated forest-management methods
  • Continuing to develop the north's energy potential
  • Increasing the socio-economic benefits of wildlife activities while ensuring the long-term viability of the resource
  • Promoting tourism development by highlighting the area's distinctive character
  • Designing and implementing a sustainable northern bio-food model based on potential in the area12

The government's long-term vision is to make sure that, by 2035, the Plan Nord will have enabled the development of this resource-rich area, for the benefit of its population and the whole of Québec, through an exemplary form of sustainable development based on a comprehensive, integrated, consistent and responsible approach.13

Establishment of ministerial committee dedicated to Plan Nord

To support the sustainable development of Northern Québec, a new ministerial committee has been established with the mandate to revive the economic, social and environmental aspects of Plan Nord. One of the main tasks of the committee is to help promote Plan Nord around the world and attract investments.14 During the annual convention of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, held in March 2015, the minister for mines presented Québec's mining potential and Plan Nord to investors and delegations from various countries, including China, Latvia and Australia.15

Creation of the Société du Plan Nord

As part of the implementation of the Plan Nord, An Act Respecting The Société Du Plan Nord16 was passed by the Québec National Assembly on Dec. 4, 2014, and assented the following day. The act was adopted with the intention to constitute the Société du Plan Nord. The société is a representative of the government and will play a leading role in the deployment of the government's strategy for the integrated and coherent development of Northern Québec.17 Its mission is to contribute, in collaboration with the representatives of the regions and the affected Aboriginal nations as well as the private sector, to the integrated and coherent development of Northern Québec, in keeping with the principle of sustainable development and in accordance with the government's policy directions relating to the Plan Nord.18 Within the scope of its mission, the sociétémay, among other things, co-ordinate and contribute financially or otherwise to the implementation of the government's policy directions, co-ordinate infrastructure projects and assist and support local and Native communities.19 The Société began operations on April 1, 2015.

Opportunities for investors

Relaunching the Plan Nord is expected to help maximize the significant mining, energy and forestry potential in Northern Québec, a territory that accounts for Québec's entire production of nickel, platinum, zinc and iron, as well as a substantial portion of its gold and diamond production.20 It also produces 75% of Québec's hydroelectricity. Yet the region still has significant undeveloped hydro, wind and solar resource potential,21 and contains over 200,000 square kilometers of commercial forest.22

The relaunch of Plan Nord is also expected to create business and investment opportunities in construction, infrastructure, transportation, tourism and other industries. To ensure adequate transportation services, the government is calling for interested private partners to support — financially or technically — the study to develop a new rail line.23 To accelerate natural gas supply in Northern Québec, the government will review projects aiming at supplying liquefied natural gas and identify those that demonstrate environmental integrity and financial profitability.24 Lastly, given Northern Québec's unique scenery and the diversity of its local culture, the government has also expressed its commitment to make Northern Québec a world-class tourist destination,25 thus creating the potential for opportunities in the dining and lodging industries.

The government has confirmed its commitment to reviving Plan Nord and renewing the economic, social and environmental development of Northern Québec, thus creating many potential business and investment opportunities for local and international enterprises.


1.Québec Government's Ministère des relations internationales et Francophonie website, Plan Nord – Building together an exemplary sustainable development project, online (last visited on Feb. 5, 2015), p. 4 ("Brochure").

2.Ibid, p. 8.

3.Budget 2014-2015 – June 2014 (Government du Québec, 2014), online, p. B.86 (last visited on February 5, 2015) ("2014-2015 Budget").

4.Ibid, p. B.81.

5.Ibid, p. B.77.

6.Ibid, p. B.83.

7.The Québec Economic Plan – March 2015 (Government du Québec, 2015), online (last visited on March 30, 2015) ("Québec Economic Plan").

8.Ibid., p. B.183.

9.Québec Government's Plan Nord website, Summary: The Plan Nord toward 2035, 2015-2020 Action Plan, online, p. 42 (last visited on April 9, 2015) ("2015-2020 Action Plan Summary").

10.Québec Economic Plan, supra, p. B.190.

11.Québec Government's Portail Québec website, Le gouvernement du Québec dévoile le Plan Nord à l'horizon 2035, le plan d'action 2015-2020, online (last visited on April 9, 2015).

12.2015-2020 Action Plan Summary, supra, p. 14-20.

13.Ibid, p.12.

14.Québec Government's Ministère du Comité exécutif website, Comité ministériel du Plan Nord, online (last visited on February 12, 2015).

15.Québec Government's Portail Québec website, PDAC 2015 - Le ministre Luc Blanchette fait la promotion du secteur minier québécois à Toronto, online (last visited on March 17, 2015).

16.CQLR, chapter S-16.011 (the "Act").

17.Brochure, supra, p. 6.

18.The Act, s. 4.

19.The Act, s. 5.

20.Québec Government's Plan Nord website, Territory, online (last visited on Feb. 5, 2015).


22.Ibid. Also, Brochure, supra, p. 4-5.

23.2014-2015 Budget, supra, p. B.82.

24.Ibid, p. B.84.

25.Brochure, supra, p.8.

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.

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
8 Nov 2016, Seminar, Ottawa, Canada

The prospect of an internal investigation raises many thorny issues. This presentation will canvass some of the potential triggering events, and discuss how to structure an investigation, retain forensic assistance and manage the inevitable ethical issues that will arise.

22 Nov 2016, Seminar, Ottawa, Canada

From the boardroom to the shop floor, effective organizations recognize the value of having a diverse workplace. This presentation will explore effective strategies to promote diversity, defeat bias and encourage a broader community outlook.

7 Dec 2016, Seminar, Ottawa, Canada

Staying local but going global presents its challenges. Gowling WLG lawyers offer an international roundtable on doing business in the U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia. This three-hour session will videoconference in lawyers from around the world to discuss business and intellectual property hurdles.

In association with
Related Video
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.