Subarctic Corridors in Northern Quebec: Is the Canadian Northern Corridor Concept Aligned with Quebec’s Historical Development?




economic corridor; infrastructure; transportation; development; nordicity; Northern Corridor concept; Subarctic; northern Quebec; Canadian federalism


Proposals for infrastructure development in Canada’s North are gaining political traction, including a corridor connecting the northern regions of each of the country’s provinces. Quebec is Canada’s largest, northernmost province and would be pivotal in the construction of the corridor. Examining the historical phases of Quebec’s northern development is crucial in assessing the challenges ahead. This paper groups Quebec’s infrastructure developments into three main phases, synthesizes each phase, and critically compares them to the proposed Northern Corridor concept (NCC). No research has yet examined the NCC’s complementarity with Quebec’s history of northern infrastructure development. While previous phases could be categorized as intraprovincial penetration corridors linking northern to southern Quebec, the NCC aims to develop an interprovincial economic corridor for landlocked provinces to be able to gain better sea access. Obstacles arising from the conciliation of past developments with the NCC include the unfitness of using existing infrastructures in Quebec for a Pan-Canadian corridor and differing development trajectories at the provincial and federal levels. Three route options for the NCC in Quebec are presented in this study. More generally, this paper outlines difficulties specific to subarctic remote corridor development.