The Côte-Nord region at a glance
Territory and main cities
The Côte-Nord region, located in the northeast of the province, is the second most extensive region in Québec. Its territory occupies a fourth of the geographic area of Québec, that is, 236,700 km2, and stretches over 1280 kilometres, from the cities of Tadoussac to Blanc-Sablon. It encompasses l'île d’Anticosti, located where the St. Lawrence River flows into the Gulf, as well as the cities of Schefferville and Fermont, both located in the northernmost part of the region.
In 2006, the population of Côte-Nord was 95,948 inhabitants (1.3% of the population of Québec), mainly residing along the St. Lawrence River and the Gulf. The population is spread out over 52 municipalities. There are still areas in the Côte-Nord today that are not connected to the rest of Québec by land routes. These include the territory of Basse-Côte-Nord, located in the easternmost part of the region. Nine Aboriginal communities (seven reserves, an Innu settlement as well as a Naskapi reserve) are also scattered across the territory.
The cities of Sept-Îles (25,210 inhabitants) and Baie-Comeau (22,640 inhabitants) are the most populated in the region. Sept-Îles is located along the shores of a 40 km2 bay, surrounded by mountains that provide natural protection to the port. Thanks to its privileged geographical location, Sept-Îles is currently experiencing growth in the economic and tourism sectors. A major regional urban centre, the city is a burgeoning socio-economic hub. In Baie-Comeau, at the very entrance to the city, the Manic-1 and McCormick dams, as well as the majestic Manicouagan River welcome you to the home of “water builders.”
Information on the territory and its subregions
The Côte-Nord region produces approximately 35% of Québec’s aluminum, 35% of its mineral shipments, 25% (volume) of its fishery landings, 30% of its hydroelectricity and 15% of its forest products.
The Côte-Nord is home to two of the largest aluminum smelters in the Americas: Alcoa in Baie-Comeau and Alouette in Sept-Îles.
Moreover, the region’s forests have spurred the development of a primary and secondary processing industry and state-of-the-art logging capabilities. Exports account for approximately 78% of the region’s gross domestic product. In addition, the economic spinoffs from the Côte-Nord’s tourism industry are estimated at over $150 million per year.
The primary sector represents over 7% of jobs in the region (compared to 2.6% for all of Québec). The secondary sector represents 20% of jobs, and the tertiary sector, 72.7% of jobs. Jobs that required technical skills enjoy the highest growth.
The region has become a pole of excellence in marine resources, sciences and technologies as well as engineering of mining and metallurgical processes. In fact, the Côte-Nord has earned recognition for these two important niches due to the capacity of its businesses to innovate, adapt to economic and technological change and excel in the marine and industrial fields on the national and international scene1.
With the Plan Nord, the government of Québec has launched a large-scale economic project in this region that will support the development of communities situated north of the 49th parallel over the next few years.
1 Source: Ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation du Québec.
Information on the economy, employment, services and cultural life
Business start-up support
The education network in the Côte-Nord offers diversified services, including education from elementary school until the university level. Five school boards serve the student population from elementary and secondary schools; while the CEGEPs of Baie-Comeau and Sept-Îles offer, besides general education, professional and technical training, as well as continuing education for adults and businesses.
University education in the region is a joint collaboration between the CEGEPs and universities. The Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) and the Cégep de Baie-Comeau offer their services under the sponsorship of the Corporation des services universitaires du secteur ouest de la Côte-Nord, while education at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) and the Cégep de Sept-Îles is sponsored by the Centre d’études universitaires de l’est de la Côte-Nord.
Information on education and research
Several cultural communities are already present in the Côte-Nord region. They are mainly from France, Morocco, China, Romania and Algeria. Most of these immigrants are from the economic or family class.