Gravel mountain formed by industrial machinery, under a brilliant sun.

Côte-Nord intervention strategy

Profile and priorities of a region whose economy revolves around the exploitation of natural resources

Portrait of the region

Territory and population

The Côte-Nord, extending from Tadoussac to just east of Blanc-Sablon, including Anticosti Island, is the second-largest region in Quebec in terms of area (21% of the province). It is divided into six regional county municipalities (RCMs): Basse-Côte-Nord, Caniapiscau, Haute-Côte-Nord, Manicouagan, Minganie and Sept-Rivières. The region has just under 94,000 inhabitants in 33 municipalities and nine Indigenous communities, including the cities of Sept-Îles and Baie-Comeau, where almost 50% of the population lives. The region’s population decreased by 5.5% between 2001 and 2015, compared with a 12% increase in Quebec over the same period.


The economy of the region is based on natural resource development. The Côte-Nord produces approximately 30% of Quebec's aluminum, 33% of its mineral products, 20% of the forest volume and 28% of the value of fisheries. The Côte-Nord's GDP represented a value of $7.1 billion in 2014, which was 2.1% of Quebec's GDP. In 2015, the predominance of natural resource development was reflected in the regional labour market, where jobs related to the primary sector represented a little more than double the Quebec average (4.7% compared to 2.1%).


Abundance of mineral, marine and forest resources, presence of major contract givers, access to the St. Lawrence Seaway, three major seaports (Baie-Comeau, Port-Cartier and Sept-Îles, as well as cruise ship ports of call), good air and rail service, and large untouched, wild areas with potential for tourist development.


Limited pool of industrial SMEs, low rate of technology entrepreneurship, innovation, and intensity, SME's dependence on the regional market of major contract givers, a significant number of jobs that depend on industries that are in decline (fisheries and forestry: 36%), demographic decline, difficult for SMEs to attract and retain labour (competition from major contract givers, housing costs).

Priorities for action

  1. Businesses supported by CED are innovative and growing
    • Support projects that will increase technology intensity and the level of innovation of SMEs, in order to improve their competitiveness and allow them to broaden their market (development of new products, components or procedures, integration of new technologies, etc.). Offer the Accelerated Growth Service.
  2. Businesses and regions supported by CED participate in an economy geared toward clean growth
    • Support SME projects that attempt to reduce the environmental footprint or promote reclaiming of biomass and of residual materials (acquisition of clean technologies, development of new products, equipment and/or procedures).
  3. Quebec communities benefit from strategic investment that promotes their economic diversification and participation in an inclusive economy
    • Help start up or grow businesses that will create or maintain jobs in sectors that will foster diversification of the regional economy, such as adventure tourism, ecotourism, accommodation, biofood processing, etc. Support international promotion and certain regional assets that will help attract tourists from outside Quebec. Participate in mobilization projects addressing the issues related to the tourism and biofood industries.
  4. Indigenous peoples benefit from CED programs and participate in Quebec's economic growth
    • Contribute to promising projects that foster the economic development of Indigenous communities (business projects, studies & mobilization plans related to tourism, biofoods and, production of goods).

Contact us

Stay tuned for advice and services from CED

Learn more about CED