Regional Portraits

Nord-du-Québec (10)


Geography and administration

The Nord-du-Québec region stretches north to the 49th parallel and covers a little over half the total area of Québec. The region is bordered to the west by Baie James and Baie d'Hudson and, to the north, by Détroit d'Hudson and Baie d'Ungava.The Côte-Nord region lies to its east, as does the border with Newfoundland and Labrador. Nord-du-Québec is bounded to the south by the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Mauricie and Abitibi-Témiscamingue regions.​

Nord-du-Québec is Québec’s least populated region. In addition to its Jamésien population, the region includes two Native communities: the Cree and the Inuit. Jamésiens reside in five municipalities and three communities.  Chibougamau is the largest town in Nord-du-Québec. The Inuit live in 14 villages, the best known being Kuujjuaq, while the Cree are concentrated in 9 villages, the largest being Chisasibi.

Nord-du-Québec is made up of towns, Northern villages, Cree villages, and territories reserved for Native peoples. Various administrative management procedures apply to the region’s territories depending on whether they are located north of the 55th parallel (Kativik Regional Administration) or south of the 55th parallel (Administration régionale Baie-James), Cree Nation Government, and Eeyou Istchee-James Bay Regional Government).

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Agriculture, fisheries and food

Nord-du-Québec has two vegetation zones: the Boreal zone, which includes the boreal forest, the taiga and the tundra, and the Arctic zone, which includes the Low Arctic. This territory is home to exceptional aquatic, marine and terrestrial wildlife, used for sport and for food, especially by the resident Native people who pursue traditional hunting and fishing practices.

The main activities are commercial fishing, seafood processing, and small-fruit cultivation. Blueberries, cranberries and cloudberries are cultivated in the Nord-du-Québec region. Blueberry and cranberry farming is in fact a growth sector in this northern region.

Farming enterprises are becoming increasingly numerous, partly in response to the population’s need for fresh vegetable. Varied production methods include:

  • Permaculture, or sustainable agricultural production
  • Greenhouse cultivation
  • Field cultivation

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Economy and employment

Nord-du-Québec stands out for its significant hydroelectric, mineral and forest resources. It is currently the region that produces the most electricity in Québec due to its hydroelectric power plants, and the region has begun to develop its substantial wind energy potential as well. The exploitation of mineral and forest resources generates significant economic benefits through the creation of jobs. The region receives the highest level of investment in mineral deposit exploration and development in Québec, and has the most exploration and mining potential. Its forestry industry provides employment in the areas of logging and wood processing, as well as wood processing machinery operation.

The tourist industry also generates work for a number of people and provides an important opening for job-market integration for the region’s Native population.​

The goods and services sector is also participating in the region’s rapid economic growth. It provides jobs especially in the retail and food service areas. The regional economy also benefits from the development of public administrations and health and social assistance services.

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Tourism, recreation and culture

Nord-du-Québec is made up of three distinct tourist regions to be discovered: Baie-James, Eeyou Istchee and Nunavik. Many and varied outdoor activities are offered each and every season. The region abounds with fish and game, thus attracting hunters and anglers. Nord-du-Québec is home to a great many outfitters and is renowned for caribou hunting expeditions.

Snowmobile trails crisscross the region’s southern sector, linking a number of communities. The region includes the largest natural fresh water lake in Québec, Lac Mistassini and Québec’s highest peak, Mont d'Iberville, located in Nunavik.

Native guides are available to all those looking for an initiation into the traditional Aboriginal way of life, and they can also visit the Oujé-Bougoumou community village, recognized by the United Nations for its planning and development. Oujé-Bougoumou has managed to conserve its traditional and communal way of life.

Other places to visit in the region include the Robert-Bourassa development (the world’s largest underground hydroelectric power station), and the La Grande-1 generating station. It is also possible to visit an historic site, Parc Robert-A.-Boyd, which bears witness to the thousands of workers who resided in Radisson, from 1950 to the year 2000, in order to build dams there.

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