The Bas-Saint-Laurent region at a glance
Territory and main cities
Located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence Estuary, the Bas-Saint-Laurent region is made up of eight regional county municipalities (MRC - municipalités régionales de comté): La Matapédia, Matane, La Mitis, Rimouski-Neigette, Les Basques, Rivière-du-Loup, Témiscouata and Kamouraska. The region also consists of 114 municipalities. In 2006, it represented 2.7% of Québec’s population (196,045 inhabitants), ranking 13th in Québec. The population is spread out over an area of 22,185 km2 with a density of 9 inhabitants/km2.
The major cities of the Bas-Saint-Laurent region are Rimouski, Rivière-du-Loup and Matane. One of the main characteristics of the region’s socio-economic feature is its rural nature. In fact, 63% of the population lives in rural areas.
Information on the Territory and its subregions
The Bas-Saint-Laurent enjoys a diversified economy. Its many small and medium businesses provide the region with economic stability. New information technologies, marine technology and biotechnology, green construction, peat moss and water treatment are fast growing sectors. The region is rich in natural resources that are being used in increasingly innovative and environmentally-friendly ways.
The Bas-Saint-Laurent region is known for its natural resources, as evidenced by its strong agri-food sector and its leading forestry industry. The service sector stands out, with many businesses in information technology, such as Télus Québec, a leader in the field. A booming tourist region, the Bas-Saint-Laurent also has a dynamic cultural sector and continues to attract more and more young artists.
Nonetheless, there are also businesses and jobs in almost all manufacturing activities, especially in metallurgy and transportation equipment. Major wind energy and marine biotechnology projects are being developed that will contribute to further diversify the economy of the Bas-Saint-Laurent. The service industry stands out through the many jobs in information technology with a leader in the field, Télus Québec. The Bas-Saint-Laurent is also Québec’s maritime showcase and a major tourist area.
Information on the economy, employment, services and cultural life
Business start-up support
The education network of the Bas-Saint-Laurent consists of the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR), four CEGEPs (Rimouski, Rivière-du-Loup, Matane and La Pocatière) and two specialized institutions (the Institut maritime du Québec à Rimouski and the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire de La Pocatière).
The region also boasts an enviable research and technology transfer infrastructure that includes several research institutes and centres: the Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski, the Maurice-Lamontagne Institute, Maritime Innovation, the Centre spécialisé de technologie physique du Québec, the Centre national du transport en commun, the Centre de développement bioalimentaire du Québec and the Forest Product Processing Research and Expertise Services.
More than ever, the ocean science and technology sector is a major asset in the development of the Bas-Saint-Laurent. It is a veritable niche of excellence for all economic players in the region. A number of initiatives exemplify the potential of this sector, such as the Corporation technopole maritime du Québec and the implementation of the Centre de recherche en biotechnologies marines. Researchers from these centres promote the use of marine products and wastes as well as wood products and peat moss for the pharmaceutical, agri-food and environmental industries.
Information on education and research
The Bas-Saint-Laurent region offers welcoming and settling services to newcomers (skilled workers, businesspeople, sponsored persons and refugees) in order to help them integrate and find employment. Several cultural communities are already present in the region, mostly from France, the United States, China, Haiti, Belgium and Colombia.