QUÉBEC, June 4, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - In tabling Budget 2014-2015, Finance
Minister Carlos Leitão announced a series of actions and measures to
support responsible natural resource development in Québec.
Deployment of the Plan Nord
The Minister announced that the government is reviving the Plan Nord, in
an enhanced version. It will be deployed with the participation of
local and Aboriginal communities and with sustainable development in
mind. The benefits of the Plan Nord will be optimized so that all
regions of Québec profit. To carry out this project successfully, the
government is confirming its intention to create the Société du Plan
"The Société du Plan Nord will play a key role in the implementation of
the government strategy for responsible and sustainable development of
Northern Québec's natural resources. It will be responsible for
coordinating the territory's development in consultation with all
partners, including local and Aboriginal communities to ensure their
support," the Minister said.
Financial assistance to implement the Plan Nord will be provided through
the Northern Plan Fund, endowed with $63 million for 2014-2015. The
Fund will finance major work on road infrastructure in the Plan Nord
territory, including the extension of highway 138 and the repair of
highway 389 in the Côte-Nord region and the James Bay highway.
"Furthermore, the government is confirming its intention to acquire
equity interests in companies in the mining and oil and gas sectors, so
that Québec society can obtain, as a shareholder, a direct share in the
profits. The Capital Mines Hydrocarbures fund, provided for in Budget
2012-2013, will be created through legislation in the fall. An
allocation of $1 billion will be made to the fund," the Minister
He also announced that the government will be participating in a
feasibility study on construction of a new rail line providing access
to the Labrador Trough. The government is also reviving the Québec
Tourism Strategy North of the 49th Parallel, with $3.2 million in
funding to promote Northern Québec as a travel destination.
In addition, the Minister announced strategic investments to foster the
development of, and access to, the territory. A total of $100 million
will be invested to establish suitable educational facilities that will
contribute to the academic and vocational success of people living in
the North, including Aboriginal people, and to train more skilled
workers. A northern development research centre, the Institut nordique
du Québec, will be created to support research and development to
advance knowledge about northern regions.
Development of Québec's natural resources
"In recent months, the mining industry suffered a substantial decrease in
private investment, in particular because of the instability caused by
the changes to the mining tax regime. We will restore industry and
investor confidence, by ensuring the application rules are favourable,
stable and foreseeable. We are maintaining the existing mining tax
regime, in order to preserve that stability. At the same time, we will
ensure that the mining regime remains competitive and fosters mining
investment in Québec. In particular, we will see that the mining regime
enables the growth of small companies and supports Québec ownership in
the mining sector," emphasized the Minister.
A forest industry renewal plan
"More than ever, forestry is an engine of economic development for our
regions. To foster sustainable development of Québec's forests and
ensure lasting employment in the forest sector, in 2014-2015 the
government will invest $570 million in silvicultural work and forest
development and management. These measures will not only preserve
Québec's forest heritage for future generations, but also stimulate
economic activity in resource regions and improve the standard of
living of our workforce," the Minister said.
He also announced an envelope of $20 million over three years to
facilitate access to financing for forestry companies and cooperatives
seeking to renew their equipment, as well as a $20-million fund to
develop the residual forest biomass sector in Québec.
Development of electric power infrastructure
The Minister announced that the government will revive the program for
small hydroelectric plants. "When all the conditions are right, these
projects benefit first and foremost local communities. However, before
obtaining a contract with Hydro-Québec, promoters will have to ensure
that their project satisfies the most demanding environmental and
social acceptability criteria in addition to generating economic
spinoffs for the benefit of local and Aboriginal populations," he
The Minister also said that Hydro-Québec is planning the construction of
a fourth power line from Northern Québec in order to better meet the
growing demand for electricity north of the agglomeration of Montréal.
The planned investment of $1.1 billion should create 1 000 jobs for
five years. It will contribute directly to revitalizing economic
activity, while ensuring the safe transmission and distribution of
Lastly, he announced that the government will continue the
transportation electrification efforts of the previous two governments.
For that purpose, it will table a bill allowing Hydro-Québec to invest
in public transit electrification projects.
The Minister concluded by saying that "Québec has natural wealth that is
the envy of many. We must make responsible, sustainable use of it to
create jobs and boost economic growth."
SOURCE: Cabinet du ministre des Finances
For further information:
Press Relations Officer
Office of the Minister of Finance