The Government of Canada announces major step in the restoration of the Québec Bridge

News release

Ottawa, Ontario, April 16, 2021—Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced that the Government is taking a major step in rehabilitating the Québec Bridge, including the possibility of repatriation provided a fair agreement can be reached.

The Government of Canada appointed Mr. Yvon Charest in 2019 to provide it with clear options on the bridge’s restoration and life extension and after extensive consultations, Mr. Charest presented his recommendations to the Government.

After a full review, the Government is announcing today that it has decided to continue Mr. Charest’s mandate to negotiate with Canadian National Railway (CN) and the Government of Quebec to quickly reach an agreement in principle which could see the Federal Government’s repatriation of the bridge. Any agreement reached would require financial contributions that recognize the obligations of all partners and an equitable sharing of the bridge's maintenance costs in the short, medium and long term.

The Government of Canada understands the strategic, economic and heritage importance of restoring the Québec Bridge. For over 100 years, the people of the Québec region have relied on this bridge as a key artery for travel and tourism—33,000 vehicles and 6,000 public transit riders cross on a typical day. The bridge benefits CN Rail as the only fixed rail link crossing the St. Lawrence River east of Montreal, with a direct connection to the deep-water Port of Québec.

Yvon Charest brings a wealth of experience to this role. In addition to his work on the bridge, he is the former president and CEO of Québec City-based iA Financial Group, one of the largest insurance and wealth management groups in Canada, with operations in the United States.


“The Government of Canada recognizes the strategic and economic importance of the Québec Bridge for the movement of people and goods as well as for connecting communities and businesses on both sides of the St. Lawrence River. This bridge is a remarkable feat of Canadian engineering and a testament to the innovation and hard work of Canadians. We greatly appreciate Mr. Charest's knowledge and expertise as a Special Negotiator to reach the best option to ensure the sustainability of this essential and historic infrastructure for the benefit of the regional economy and all users and residents of Greater Québec.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“For almost 30 years, the people of Québec have been waiting for a positive outcome on this file. In 2015, our government committed to working with CN and the government of Quebec to find a long-term solution. Today we are announcing that we are taking a major steps toward a final resolution by giving the negotiator a clear mandate to negotiate the transfer of ownership with adequate compensation.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board

Quick facts

  • Completed in 1917, the Québec Bridge is the longest clear-span cantilever bridge in the world with a free span between the two central pillars of 549 metres.

  • In 1987, it was recognized as a national and international monument to civil engineering by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering. In 1995, it was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

  • The Québec Bridge is a critical regional transportation link, with average annual daily crossings of 33,000 vehicles, including approximately 400 transit buses with over 6,000 passengers daily.

  • It is the only link between Québec and Lévis for active transportation, either by foot or by bicycle.

  • The bridge is also a strategic freight corridor for regional, national and international markets and is an important link in the Canadian supply chain.

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

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
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