Rural and northern Quebec to benefit from faster Internet

News Release

$16 million will improve high-speed coverage in Saint-Damien, Indigenous communities of James Bay and Kawawachikamach

July 21, 2017 – Saint-Damien, Quebec – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

More than 2,800 households in 13 rural and remote communities in Quebec will be able to do business online, participate in distance education and benefit from online employment opportunities, thanks to a Government of Canada investment of more than $16 million in high-speed Internet.

The funding was announced by Parliamentary Secretary David Lametti, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, during a visit to Saint-Damien, one of the communities that will benefit from this funding.

The funding is being allocated largely through Connecting Canadians, a federal program that provides underserved communities with Internet access at speeds of five megabits per second or more.

The Connecting Canadians program allows Canadians in every region of the country to participate fully in the digital economy, seize new business opportunities, and connect with friends and family around the world.

The companies receiving funding are:

This funding is part of the Government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it.


“Internet access is now an essential part of everyday life. Canadians go online for education, health services, entertainment and shopping. Faster Internet connections allow Canadians to innovate. It allows them to get the skills and training they need to qualify for well-paying jobs. The smallest businesses, no matter where they are located, can participate fully in the global marketplace and achieve global scale in a flash with faster Internet service. We can no longer consider high-speed Internet a luxury.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“This investment will benefit the middle class and those working to join it in rural and remote areas in Quebec. It will help create greater employment and business opportunities, better access to online education and e-health, improved communications and access to media, and increased access to online goods and services.”

– David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Since 2005, ELPC has been putting forward innovative solutions for deploying high-speed Internet in rural areas. Today, we are pleased to announce the construction of a new Internet network for Saint-Damien. Fibre optic, the best technology in the world, will soon be available to residents in this community.”

– Marc-André Forest, President, ELPC

“The Government of Canada is committed to investing in infrastructure that strengthens the middle class, promotes economic prosperity and provides municipalities with the building blocks they need to support a high standard of living for Canadians and their families. Access to better, more reliable broadband connections will provide Kawawachikamach residents with new opportunities to participate in the digital economy and take advantage of advances in telehealth, e-learning and remote access to government services.”

– The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Our government is committed to improving the quality of life of Indigenous peoples, and access to high-speed Internet is now an essential service. We are pleased to provide $2.5 million to the Connecting Canadians program, which will benefit Indigenous communities in northern Quebec through new opportunities to participate in the digital economy, to take advantage of advances in e-health and e-learning, and to access e-government services.”

– The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

Quick Facts

  • As a result of the $305-million Connecting Canadians program, more than 300,000 households across Canada will benefit from enhanced broadband service. All projects will be completed by 2019.

  • Additionally, the Government of Canada has launched the new $500-million Connect to Innovate program to extend and enhance broadband service in rural and remote communities.

  • Through the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund, Infrastructure Canada is also contributing up to $2.7 million toward Naskapi Imuun Inc.’s satellite connectivity capacity.

  • The Government of Canada will invest more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

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Follow the Minister on Twitter: @MinisterISED

Karl W. Sasseville
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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