Rimouski: birthplace of the Government of Canada’s economic adventure in Quebec

Rimouski was the starting point of the federal government’s economic foray into Quebec regional development back in early 1968 when the Department of Forestry and Rural Development brought in a federal administrator to implement the Eastern Quebec Development Plan.

Montréal: the first regional office…

A short time later, in spring 1969, the Department of Regional Economic Expansion (DREE) was created and a liaison office opened in Québec, as was the case in all provincial capitals.

When DREE was decentralized in 1973-1974, four main economic regions were established: Western Canada, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. In Quebec, Montréal became the seat of the first regional office, which also oversaw the Québec provincial office (responsible for Canada-Quebec agreements) and the Rimouski office.

…extends its services to the regions

To better serve Quebec’s outlying regions, DREE opened offices in Val-d’Or and Alma in 1978, Sherbrooke in 1980, Trois-Rivières in 1981 and Drummondville in 1982. Then came the arrival of the Sept-Îles office in May 1987 following the creation of the Department of Regional Industrial Expansion (DRIE)—formed through a merger of DREE and the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce—and the Office of the Federal Economic Development Co-ordinator.

With the signing of the Subsidiary Agreement on the Economic Development of the Regions and the abolition of DRIE in 1988, federal stakeholders in Quebec were reorganized to form the future Department of Industry, Science and Technology’s regional development office. It was also at this period that the Nord-du-Québec office was established in Montréal.

Three years later, on June 13, 1991, the regional development office gained agency status and became the Federal Office of Regional Development – Quebec (FORD-Q). Under the aegis of this new body, the Outaouais office was established in Hull in January 1993, followed by the Île-de-Montréal, Laval–Laurentides–Lanaudière and Montérégie offices in 1994.

The Agency: at the centre of regional development in Quebec

In 1998, FORD-Q’s name was changed to the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec to better reflect the Government of Canada’s economic development mission in Quebec. The Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine office, the newest of the Agency’s regional business offices, was opened in Gaspé in 2000.

A central player in the development of Quebec’s regions, the Agency was given an autonomous legal status to promote the economic development and diversification of the regions of Quebec with the entry into force of the Act establishing the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec on October 5, 2005.

There, in short, is a brief history of how the Agency and its business offices came to be!

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