Conditions for Success
The business environment and financial support measures established by the government will help create the conditions needed to attract private investment to northern Québec. However, the vastness of the area concerned, the remoteness of the communities, the lack of links between northern and southern Québec and access to outside markets are all factors that may limit northern development.
Access to the land
Infrastructures—harbours, railways, airports and roads—and their strategic development over the long term are cornerstones for the deployment of the Plan Nord. Although the area already has clear strategic advantages in the field of transportation infrastructures, the challenge of access to the land is two-fold:
- Existing infrastructures are aging and require major reconstruction work to extend their useful life.
- The various transportation modes must be part of a strategic, coherent network if they are to promote the economic potential of the North and provide adequate services for the northern population.
- Ensure the ongoing viability of maritime infrastructures in Nunavik.
- Improve access and increase the capacity of the port of Sept-Îles.
- Ensure the capacity and efficiency of the rail services between the Labrador and the port of Sept-Îles.
- Continue to improve northern airports.
- Ensure a permanent, safe road network adapted to northern characteristics.
- Draw up policies and directives for the planning, financing, commissioning and shared use of transportation infrastructures in the area covered by the Plan Nord.
- Continue discussions on the economic perspectives for the development of strategic multimodal infrastructures in the Nord-du-Québec region.
Improve telecommunications infrastructures
Access to digital technologies is an essential component in the socio-economic development of the area and the safety and wellbeing of northern populations. The development and availability of telecommunications technologies are an essential elements for the attraction and retention of workers and enterprises in remote regions.
- Complete a master plan for a fibre optic-based telecommunications network serving the whole of the area covered by the Plan Nord through integrated planning.
- Improve the high-speed Internet network on the Basse-Côte-Nord.
Increase scientific knowledge, promote its application and the creation of the Institut nordique du Québec
Northern development and the transformations under way in the area covered by the Plan Nord raise a number of issues that concern the research and innovation community. All the components of the Plan Nord generate a need for research and for the gathering of scientific data and knowledge. This information is needed to ensure that actions are planned effectively in a way that ensures respect for communities. In-depth knowledge of all social, economic and environmental factors is essential to develop the full potential of the North, protect it and inhabit it.
The government will, for this purpose, create the Institut nordique du Québec, as a pathfinder project to respond to the research objective while ensuring a balance between the social, economic and environmental dimensions. The Institut will bring a range of expertise in the natural, social, health and engineering sciences to bear on the question of sustainable development in the North, in an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional centre for research and innovation, with the involvement of Université Laval, McGill University and the Institut national de recherche scientifique. The centre will be located on the campus of Université Laval, in Québec City, and will also have offices in the area covered by the Plan Nord.
Thanks to the Institut nordique du Québec it will be possible to deploy a number of research and technology transfer platforms that will incorporate aboriginal knowledge and meet the needs of stakeholders, whether northern communities, the government or the private sector. The institute will work closely with other research establishments and teams in Québec and Canada, including college-level technology transfer centres and aboriginal services.
It will help attract the most talented science and technology experts, providing both a source of social and technological innovation and sustainable economic leverage. Québec will position itself as a national and international leader in the field of northern research.
Plan Nord promotion
Promoting the Plan Nord in Canada and abroad
To ensure the successful implementation of the Plan Nord, intergovernmental relations will have to be conducted in a joint, coordinated fashion to uphold and defend Québec’s interests.
All the government departments and bodies involved, with assistance from the Secrétariat aux affaires intergouvernementales canadiennes, will work to improve collaboration between the Québec government, the governments of the other provinces and territories and the federal government with respect to northern issues.
The Plan Nord will also be implemented against the backdrop of an extremely competitive international environment, where natural resource prices can fluctuate widely and states and governments vie with each other to attract foreign investors and qualified workers. Given this context, concerted action, along with international representation, prospection and promotion activities will be essential if the objectives of the Plan Nord are to be achieved.
The Québec government, under the guidance of the Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie, will conduct a broad, sustained and original international campaign to promote the unique comparative advantages of a project of this scope.