QUEBEC GOVERNMENT NEWS RELEASE: The Plan Nord: The Project of a Generation – Establishment of the Société du Plan Nord and $2.1 billion in investments over five years

Québec, May 9, 2011 –  “The Plan Nord is ambitious. Its implementation will necessitate essential investments to facilitate access to the territory and enhance the quality of life of its inhabitants.  The new business model developed in respect of projects under the Plan Nord has unquestionably altered the manner in which Québec will fund infrastructure and public services. Starting today, construction and maintenance costs will be shared throughout the infrastructure’s useful life by businesses, the communities concerned, the gouvernement du Québec and other users,” Québec Premier Jean Charest noted.

Establishment of the Société du Plan Nord

The government is announcing that it will establish through legislation the Société du Plan Nord to carry out projects and coordinate all of the investments. The government corporation will oversee the public investments in the social and transportation infrastructure sectors.

Moreover, the corporation will establish direct ties with businesses and local and Aboriginal communities to support their projects. “Partnerships between the private and public sectors and the communities will seek to satisfy several uses. Accordingly, transportation, energy and telecommunications infrastructure can be built to afford access to a new mining camp and also provide access to trapping lands, outfitting operations and other tourist infrastructure. In this way, the development of the North will rely on integrated planning and become a model of sustainable development,” Minister Normandeau added.

Invest to maximize benefits for all Quebecers

The first action plan under the Plan Nord covers the period 2011-2016, during which the gouvernement du Québec will implement measures totalling $2.1 billion. Of this amount, nearly $1.2 billion will be earmarked for infrastructure development and $382 million for social measures related to housing, health, the reduction of transportation costs, and education.

Quebecers will control their resources

In addition, Investissement Québec will manage a special $500-million allocation to enable Quebecers to acquire equity participations in investment projects in the North. The equity participations may, for example, take the form of joint ventures or purchases of share capital.

“Our government’s objective is to ensure that the inhabitants of Northern Québec and all Quebecers benefit directly from the development of their territory’s wealth. In addition to the investments, royalties and the taxes that the private sector pays, Quebecers must also benefit from the growth in the businesses that invest here to develop our natural resources,” Premier Charest said.

Establishment of the Fonds du Plan Nord

To implement the business plan, the gouvernement du Québec is also announcing the establishment of the Fonds du Plan Nord. Tax spinoff stemming from new mining projects, Hydro-Québec’s new projects and new infrastructure projects will be paid into the fund. It should be noted that Hydro-Québec will make an additional $10 million contribution each year to fund social projects.

“This innovative funding method will establish a close link between the economic activity that the Plan Nord’s implementation engenders and the resources invested to develop infrastructure and enhance services for the inhabitants of the territory that the Plan Nord covers,” concluded Deputy Premier, Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife and Minister responsible for the Plan Nord Nathalie Normandeau.