High-speed internet, youth centres in Nunavik part of C$2.6b Northern action plan

By Nunatsiaq News - December 22, 2023

Québec government announces new five-year program for sustained development

Maïté Blanchette Vézina, Québec’s minister of natural resources and forests and minister responsible for the Northern Plan Society, speaks to media Tuesday in Baie-Comeau, Québec. about the province’s new 5-year, $2.6-billion Northern Action Plan (Screenshot via Zoom / Nunatsiaq News)

Nearly C$2.6 billion will be spent on sustainable development of Nunavik and Québec’s northern regions over the next five years, the provincial government announced Tuesday.

Its Northern Action Plan for 2023-2028 includes 45 new projects such as finalizing access to high-speed internet in Nunavik, building youth centres across the North, and building new housing in communities.

The plan was announced by Maïté Blanchette Vézina, Québec’s natural-resources and forests minister and minister responsible for the Northern Plan Society, in a statement to media in Baie-Comeau, Québec.

The new five-year plan, which Vézina called “ambitious,” is the result of a collaboration between more than 25 departments and agencies and northern Indigenous groups.

The plan organizes the 45 actions into four categories: Increasing connectivity to the territory, building on northern economic strengths, stimulating community vitality, and preserving the unique environment.

Projects for Nunavik include boosting high-speed internet services through deployment of fibre optics and improving the reliability of a northern network.

That’s expected to make it possible to offer more services remotely including health, justice and education.

The plan also includes a commitment to build youth centres across the north, clean up hazardous waste from northern communities and increase access to justice services.

Working with Makivvik Corp., the Kativik Regional Government and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, the Justice Ministry will provide court service employees with better working accommodations and telecommunications technologies in each northern village.

The plan also aims to improve access to justice services closer to home, such as confidential face-to-face meetings and remote testimony or hearings.

“Thanks to the sums invested, First Nations and Inuit communities will have the financial tools to benefit from significant improvements in education and entrepreneurship,” said Ian Lafrenière, Québec’s minister responsible for relations with the First Nations and the Inuit.

Added Denis Lamothe, the MNA for Ungava: “It’s important to make our northern territory more attractive and encourage its sustainable development.”

This is the third action plan development for Québec’s northern regions. The previous plan, for 2020-2023, wrapped up March 31.

Nunatsiaq News is the newspaper of record for Nunavut and the Nunavik territory of Quebec. It has been published since 1973 and reaches 50,000 readers in 39 eastern Arctic communities each week through its website and weekly e-editions. Its editorial team offers credible, in-depth, award-winning journalism, drawing readers from northern and southern Canada and around the world. Nunatsiaq News is owned by Nortext Publishing Corp., which maintains offices in Iqaluit and Ottawa.