The governments of Canada and Quebec invest in renewable energy and organic residual waste management in Varennes

News release

Montréal/Varennes, Quebec, December 8, 2020—Strategic investments in green infrastructure are key to building vibrant, healthy communities while protecting the environment. This is why the governments of Canada and Quebec support an ongoing transition to a clean, sustainable growth economy that will benefit Quebecers as well as support job creation.

Today, Quebec Premier François Legault and the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, accompanied by the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Quebec Lieutenant, Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation, and Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, announced a joint investment of more than $230 million for the design and construction of a cellulosic biofuel plant in Varennes. The Mayor of Varennes, Martin Damphousse, also joined the celebrations for the Varennes Carbon Recycling project, which will be the first plant of its kind in Quebec.

Once construction is complete, the plant will transform non-recyclable and non-compostable waste into clean fuel that could be used to replace fossil fuels. It will also reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills or incinerators. As a result, the plant will help significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This project, estimated at $687 million, will create over 500 jobs in Quebec during the construction phase and close to 100 jobs when the plant is up and running. It will also support efforts to achieve a green relaunch of the economy.

The Government of Quebec is allocating more than $160 million to the Varennes Carbon Recycling project. The Government of Canada is contributing $70 million to the project under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and $4 million from Canada Economic Development. In addition to these contributions, financial support will be provided by Shell Canada Products, Suncor Energy and Proman, which are major strategic partners, and by Enerkem, the Quebec company behind the innovative technology that will be used in Varennes.


“The Varennes cellulosic biofuel plant will turn waste into fuel, support cutting-edge Canadian technology and help ensure cleaner air for our children and grandchildren. This project, supported by a federal investment of $74 million, will help tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 50,000 cars off the road every year while creating good jobs. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Our investment in this project will strengthen not only an innovative business established here in Quebec, but also our leadership in green technologies. Reducing CO2 emissions by 170,000 tonnes a year means more wealth and less greenhouse gas emissions. We are facing major challenges ahead to restart the economy, but we must take advantage of industries that are the way of the future. We must build a greener and more prosperous Quebec. A prouder Quebec!”

François Legault, Premier of Quebec

“Quebec is seeing a major shift in residual waste management, and we are proud that Varennes has become the leading development centre for a clean and innovative technology. Thank you  to the many public and private sector stakeholders who are making this futuristic plant a reality. Today, I am thinking of the late Vincent Chornet, who passed away last year; he was a pioneer of this project, a friend of mine, and a great source of inspiration. In his memory, the city council is naming the new street leading to the Enerkem facility after him.”

Martin Damphousse, Mayor of Varennes

Quick facts

  • Through the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is investing 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.

  • The Government of Canada has invested more than $6.5 billion in 1,145 infrastructure projects across Quebec.

  • More than $1 billion of this funding is supporting green infrastructure projects in Quebec.

  • For more information, visit the map of federal investments in Quebec infrastructure projects.

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Ewan Sauves
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier of Quebec

Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
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