|| Contagious robustness!
The Quebec City CMA's robust economic health has benefited
county regional municipalities (CRMs) in the outlying areas. The
opposite, however, is also true. A spillover effect has been
observed, with more than 90 large-scale projects totalling $3.6
billion either underway or announced in the outlying areas of the
Quebec City metropolitan region. The combined effect of this
phenomenon is helping to forge links between various economic
sectors while increasing employment opportunities, extending the
public service offer and stimulating the tourist sector.
|| The northern outlying areas5 are benefiting from
their proximity to Quebec City
QUEBEC CITY CMA'S
Economic stakeholders in the northern outlying areas are
increasingly comfortable with the fact that it is more efficient
and more profitable for their regions to capitalize on their
proximity to Quebec City. Some CRMs are benefiting from
exurbanization due to the availability of affordable land and
properties. This is contributing to the demographic increase; it is
also placing upward pressure on the offer of private and public
services. In this regard, commercial activity is expanding and new
public infrastructure is being built (schools, libraries,
multi-function buildings, daycare centres, etc.).
The northern outlying areas have also invested large sums in
improving their tourist offer in the past few years; various
projects are currently underway (Massif de Charlevoix, Vallée
Bras-du-Nord, etc.). The existing stakeholders are seeking to
adjust to the needs of the local population, as well as to those of
international visitors, by offering a wealth of sports and
recreational activities, in addition to relaxation centres and
business meeting sites. Additional efforts will be required to
maximize the benefits stemming from proximity to an international
airport, a cruiseship terminal and the resumption of tourist rail
operations in Charlevoix.
|| Challenges facing the southern outlying
The southern outlying areas have a diversified industrial base.
Needless to say, some economic sectors have been hit hard by the
Canadian dollar's rise in value against the US dollar, coupled with
increased border openness to international products, the US
economic slowdown and higher production costs in recent years. Some
companies have streamlined their operations and have relocated or
closed their production facilities. Others have taken the
opportunity to diversify their production and export markets.
Additional efforts will be required to maintain the market leaders'
financial health, particularly those specializing in metal,
chemical, rubber and plastic products, as well as wood. In that
regard, Quebec City's proximity may prove to be very useful when it
comes to finding qualified workers, offering certain opportunities
and promoting innovation by forging links with the R&D
There will be additional challenges for the southern outlying
areas. A number of CRMs are currently facing demographic decline,
particularly those on the eastern and western edges. The closure of
major companies and the slowdown in agricultural activities in
recent years have precipitated an exodus of young families. This
situation is not favourable to the expansion of private services
(businesses, restaurants, etc.) or public services (schools,
daycares, roads, etc.). The next generation is another concern. The
Beauce School of Entrepreneurship was created to train the next
crop of entrepreneurs. However, there are fewer and fewer young
people available to fill the shoes of those who will be retiring in
the not-too-distant future. Currently, the southern outlying areas
have only six or seven young people aged 20 to 29 ready to replace
10 people about to retire. The Beauce region7 is the only
exception, with a replacement ratio at the equilibrium point (10
new workers for every 10 retirees). Further efforts will thus be
required to promote the employment outlook in these regions,
particularly among young people.
5 The CRMs of Charlevoix,
Charlevoix-East, Cote-de-Beaupré, Orleans Island, Jacques Cartier
and Portneuf comprise
the northern outlying areas.
6 The CRMs of Les Appalaches, Beauce-Sartigan, Les
Etchemins, L'Islet, Lotbinière, Montmagny, Nouvelle Beauce
and Robert Cliche comprise the southern outlying areas.
7 The Beauce region includes the CRMs of
Beauce-Sartigan, Nouvelle Beauce and Robert Cliche.