Autumnal forest. Multi-coloured trees along a river shore under the setting sun.

Outaouais intervention strategy

Profile and priorities of the Outaouais region and four service- and tourism-oriented RCMs in the Laurentides region

Portrait of the region

Territory and population

The Outaouais business office serves the entire Outaouais region, which includes four regional county municipalities (RCMs)—Pontiac, Papineau, Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, and Collines-de-l'Outaouais—as well as the city of Gatineau. Also in this territory are four RCMs from the Laurentides administrative region, namely, Antoine-Labelle, Laurentides, Pays-d'en-Haut and Argenteuil. These territories have a total population of 541,830 inhabitants, spread over 124 municipalities, including nearly 280,000 for the city of Gatineau. There are two Algonquin communities on the territory, namely, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and the Algonquins of Barriere Lake.

Economy

The economic structure of the Outaouais is highly centred on the service sector, given the federal public service’s presence. In Gatineau, there is a small pool of companies in the information and communications technology sector, but overall, there are very few manufacturing companies (4.4% of jobs vs. 12.1% in Quebec). The economy of the RCMs in the Laurentides region is particularly focused on the tourism industry (except that of Argenteuil) and the forestry sector. While Gatineau has good socio-economic indicators, the eight RCMs served are among the most devitalized in Quebec based on CED's Economic Development Index.

Assets

In the Outaouais, the presence of innovative businesses and a growing bilingual, highly qualified labour force in Gatineau; proximity to the Nation's Capital (tourism, innovation ecosystem). In the Laurentides region: large-scale tourist attractions (Mont-Tremblant, P'tit train du Nord trail); cluster of innovative companies in Argenteuil. In both regions: abundant mixed forest resources.

Challenges

To develop the innovation ecosystem still in its embryonic stage; increase the entrepreneurship rate (one of the lowest in Quebec); diversify the economic base in its territory, particularly in the devitalized RCMs.
 

Priorities for action 2021

  1. Businesses supported by CED are innovative and growing
    • The business office will support the start-up and growth of innovative companies. Funding will be aimed towards support activities related to innovation in manufacturing companies to accelerate their adoption of technologies and the business office will provide the integrated approach of the Accelerated Growth Service.
  2. Businesses and regions supported by CED participate in an economy geared toward clean growth
    • The business office will support the pre-start-up, start-up and growth of companies in the clean technology sector as well as projects that adopt such technologies. It will support the development of recycled materials and the creation of networks mandated to encourage the reuse of waste while improving cost-efficiency for its members (circular economy).
  3. Quebec communities benefit from strategic investment that promotes their economic diversification and participation in an inclusive economy
    • To enable all regions to participate in the economy to their full capacity, the business office will implement specific strategies adapted for each of the territories served, especially the most devitalized. These strategies will be established in partnership with local stakeholders. In addition, it will assist with the start-up and expansion of local and regional large-scale companies that contribute to job creation and diversification of the economy. Lastly, it will continue to support projects that attract customers from outside Quebec and Canada with solid benefits.
  4. Indigenous peoples benefit from CED programs and participate in Quebec's economic growth
    • The business office will support initiatives that target economic development of Algonquin communities in its territory, in line with their respective priorities.

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