Houses on the shore in Natashquan

Côte-Nord: bringing large projects to a vast territory

The Côte-Nord region, which extends from Tadoussac to east of Blanc-Sablon and including Anticosti Island, is the province’s second largest administrative region, after the Nord‑du‑Québec region.

But even though it serves a territory covering 351,523 km2, the Côte-Nord Business Office is led by the smallest regional team at CED.

Knowing your territory, as immense as it may be

Fortunately, CED’s Côte-Nord team has a wealth of experience and a range of knowledge giving it the tools needed to help regional businesses and organizations overcome the challenges they face.

La promenade en bordure de la baie de Tadoussac
Photo credit: Josiane Cabana
The boardwalk on the edge of Tadoussac Bay

With Regional Director Stéphane Lacroix; three advisors, Tracy Lee-Grant, Marie-Josée Bourque, and Marc Corbeil; and Administrative Assistant Julie Rondeau, this close-knit team stands out for the versatility of its members, their broad networks of contacts and a willingness to serve the interests of very diverse communities—ranging from urban areas sustained by major industries to small, isolated villages with no external road link.

A small team with great expertise

Regional Director Stéphane originally worked “on the other side of the fence,” as an entrepreneur. He first became involved in the family business, but when it was sold, his experience in entrepreneurship and university training in finance and management led him to become a consultant, a role he first held in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, then in Gaspésie.

In 2006, Stéphane returned to Sept-Îles to take on the position of Director General of the regional Société d’aide au développement des collectivités (SADC), which enabled him to develop a large network of contacts extending from Rivière-Pentecôte to Blanc-Sablon. He was therefore well-equipped to accept the position of Regional Director of the Côte-Nord Business Office in 2011.

“I love the challenges that come with serving a territory as vast as the Côte-Nord region, with such a diverse clientele, while also having the opportunity to contribute to the Agency’s reflections on strategy. I feel I am an agent of change in the region, helping in concrete ways to make promising projects a reality.”

– Stéphane Lacroix, Regional Director

Tracy, who has been an advisor at the business office since 2016, and Marc, who returned to CED in 2020 after having already worked there for 15 years, also have much experience with a variety of Côte-Nord communities and industries.

“We have to be very familiar with all sectors of activity in the Côte-Nord region since we are generalists: We go from agri-food to the mining industry to fisheries, and we also touch on tourism. I sometimes act as a kind of senior advisor supporting Stéphane, since he sometimes wears the hat of advisor to back us up. Everyone at the office is very versatile.”

– Tracy-Lee Grant, Advisor

La route 138 au cœur du village de Les Escoumins
Photo credit: Josiane Cabana
Route 138 in the heart of the village of Les Escoumins

As for Marie-Josée, who joined the team in 2021 after 17 years at Service Canada, her clients benefit from her studies in industrial relations, along with her experience with Indigenous communities in the region. Not to mention Julie, who provides invaluable assistance to the entire team and who precisely likes to feel that her support is important and appreciated: “I like to paddle along with the team and I want to be the best help possible for my colleagues.”

Thanks to the assets of each team member, which complement one another, and wide-ranging knowledge of key stakeholders in the region, the Côte-Nord Business Office team is often in the best position to direct entrepreneurs looking to expand their contact networks.

Working remotely an opportunity to get closer to clients

The context created by COVID-19 could have complicated things for the Côte-Nord Business Office. However, being required to work virtually has instead enabled the team to diversify its actions and increase the number of meetings it holds across this vast territory.

In fact, by freeing the team of the limitations of distance and the logistics required to travel, this mode of work has made it possible to increase consultations with the territory’s entrepreneurs and economic development organizations. For example, Stéphane and his team were at the centre of the crisis units assessing and mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020. They continue to participate in these discussions today.

In some respects, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated certain trends that could already be seen in the region, but it will also have a long-term effect on the reality of entrepreneurs. In this context, the team at the Côte-Nord Business Office is more ready than ever to support the region’s businesses and organisations to help them build a prosperous future.

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