On April 8, 2015, the Québec government released its
Plan Nord toward 2035, 2015-2020 Action Plan (Plan Nord),
a 20-year plan designed to provide main policy directions and
priorities for the development of northern Québec. Plan Nord
previous plan announced in 2011 by then-premier Jean Charest,
which projected investment of $80 billion from both public and
private funds over 25 years. Québec's new version of
Plan Nord envisions a more moderate investment of $50 billion by
The unveiling of Plan Nord follows
several measures announced in the Québec
government's 2014‒2015 budget on June 4, 2014, including
the establishment of the state-owned Société du
Plan Nord (Société). Like the closely related
Maritime Strategy released in 2014, Plan Nord is a key component of
a broad economic operation aimed at spurring Québec's
While Plan Nord follows the previous plan's principal
objective to harness the economic potential of resource-rich
northern Québec (an area encompassing 1.2 million square
kilometres), it puts more emphasis on sustainable development and
the well-being and development of local communities. The
implementation of this renewed vision will rest on three main
strategic policy directions:
Develop the diversified economic
potential of northern Québec in a responsible way for the
benefit of the local population and Québec as a whole.
Support the development of all
communities in the area covered by Plan Nord, by helping them
realize their full potential and improving their living
Protect the environment and preserve
the distinctive biodiversity of northern Québec by ensuring
that mechanisms are put in place, by 2035, to dedicate 50% of the
area covered by Plan Nord to non-industrial purposes, to protect
the environment and to safeguard biodiversity.
Overall management and supervision of the various components of
Plan Nord will be carried out by the Société. The
projects administered by the Société will be funded
by the Fonds du Plan Nord, a special-purpose fund created
in 2011. Within five years, the Québec government expects to
invest $1.3 billion in strategic infrastructure projects and
related northern activities. Development of the economic
potential of northern Québec has been prioritized as
Re-establish a context conducive to
mineral development based on a wide range of resources.
Diversify and promote forestry
products and implement integrated forestry management methods.
Continue to develop the energy
potential of northern Québec.
Increase the socio-economic benefits
of wildlife activities while ensuring the long-term viability of
Increase tourism development by
promoting the area's distinctive character.
Design and implement a sustainable
northern bio-food model based on potential in the area.
The unveiling of Plan Nord comes at a strategic time when the
mining industry, cyclical by nature, faces significant challenges.
Although more modest than the previous plan, Plan Nord remains a
major 20-year economic, social and environmental initiative that
has the potential of attracting both Canadian and foreign
investors. Of note, the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank,
ranked Québec as the sixth most attractive jurisdiction in
the world in 2014 for mining investment.1
1.Fraser Institute, Survey of Mining Companies:
2014, (2015), p. 2.
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
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