Some 300 people gathered at Quebec City’s convention centre (Centre des congrès) tonight to mark Quebec International’s 10th anniversary. The event was attended by Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, together with Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs; Agnès Maltais, Quebec Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister Responsible for the Quebec City Region (Capitale-Nationale); and Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume.
To mark the occasion, Quebec International released the 2002-2012 Economic Report for the Quebec City Metropolitan Region: 10 Years of Success. The study outlines the main indicators used to evaluate the region’s performance over the past decade in the areas of economic growth, employment, industrial diversification, real estate, infrastructure, demographic trends and the business environment. Here are some of the report’s highlights:
- Real GDP in the Quebec City census metropolitan area (CMA) rose from $26.3 billion to $32.5 billion over the past 10 years. This increase (nearly 24%) was one of the largest in Quebec. Meanwhile, GDP per capita increased by 14%, good for second place among Canada’s eight largest CMAs.
- Employment grew strongly over the same period, with 73,300 jobs created (+21%). Thanks to the vigorous labour market, unemployment fell to 5.1% in 2012, the lowest rate in the province.
- Efforts to broaden the local economy propelled Quebec City into 10th place among North American regions based on the industrial diversity index. The seven key industries account for 151,330 direct and indirect jobs and generate the equivalent of 44% of regional GDP.
- The value of building permits rose by 109% over 10 years, accompanied by 62,000 new housing units and nearly 3 million sq. ft. in additional office space. Investments totalling $1.3 billion were made in improvements to port/airport infrastructure, the high-tech park and various post-secondary institutions.
- The regional population grew by 9.1% between 2002 and 2012, buoyed by the arrival of 24,530 international immigrants and a 36% increase in the number of births.
“Each time Quebec International helps a local company to export goods and services around the world and each time it attracts foreign investment to the region, you are helping to strengthen Quebec’s economy. And what’s good for Quebec City’s economy is good for the entire province,” said Premier Marois.
“The Government of Canada supports organizations that, like Québec International, help companies position themselves in international markets or that support entrepreneurs in their start-up and business expansion projects. The trade relations they establish there create jobs in Canada and stimulate the country’s economic growth,” said Minister Lebel.
The event also provided Quebec International with an opportunity to take stock of its efforts seeking to support economic development and enhance the region’s international standing over the past decade. Since 2003, Quebec International has conducted 175 international missions aimed at developing new markets, recruiting qualified workers and prospecting for foreign investment. It also welcomed 330 foreign delegations and buyers and held more than 1,400 business networking events and training activities. A total of more than 41,000 people took part in these initiatives. Quebec International also issued 190 economic and promotional publications and took part in various national and international contests in which the region and the organization won 50 awards and honours.
“The region’s robust economy, sense of pride and energy are no accident. Indeed, they stem from a concerted effort by the government and other stakeholders and from their decision to join forces to propel Quebec City into the ranks of the world’s best. The region now must capitalize on its assets in order to maintain its leading position in the areas of investment, job creation and entrepreneurship. I’d like to thank all of the members of Quebec International’s team for their contributions to economic development and for their efforts in support of local companies, which are taking on an increasingly high-profile international role and turning Quebec City into a bona fide international capital,” said Ms. Maltais.
“Over the past 10 years, Quebec International has created a set of winning conditions aimed at fostering regional economic development, boosting Quebec City’s international status, implementing an entrepreneurial culture and attracting talent and investment. By mobilizing the business community’s leading lights and by working in concert with local institutions and decision makers, Quebec International has helped to transform our city and the way it is seen in the eyes of the world,” said Mr. Labeaume.
Capping off the event, Carl Viel, President and CEO of Quebec International, thanked everyone in attendance for their contributions to economic development, noting that “the region’s outstanding performance reflects the combined efforts of all local stakeholders, who have successfully developed a common vision and who have worked tirelessly to advance the region’s interests. The report made public today is primarily designed to pay tribute to those who have had a hand in forging our economic success, including our dynamic business community, our talented researchers and all those who support them.”
About Quebec International
Founded in 2003, Quebec International contributes to the economic development of the Quebec City metropolitan region and enhances its international status. As a regional economic development agency, Quebec International fosters business growth, supports key sectors and attracts talent and investment. For further information, please visit www.quebecinternational.ca.