On August 12, 2011, the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, unveiled a document entitled: A commitment by the Government of Québec to set aside 50% of the Plan Nord territory for environmental protection, safeguarding biodiversity and promoting our natural heritage. The document is now open for public consultation.

The Minister announced major new commitments in the Plan Nord framework including:

  • Ensuring that by 2020, at least 17% of the territory of the Plan Nord is set-aside for conservation purposes
  • Achieving the overall objective of protecting 50% of the North by 2035

The Minister also established initial markers for environmental protection and conservation of northern biodiversity:

  • By 2015, complete a network of protected areas on at least 12% of the territory of the Plan Nord;
  • By 2015, complete a network of protected areas covering 12% of the area of the boreal forest blanket. This represents a major step in efforts to protect old-growth forests and the habitat of a threatened species, the woodland caribou;
  • By 2020, reserve at least 5% in additional areas for conservation and non-industrial development of interest.

The Plan also addresses various types of development that do not rely on industrial activities. Following public consultation the Minister intends to table a draft bill to provide the legislative framework for implementation.

For more information see: http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/communiques_en/2011/c20110812-plannord.htm