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The governments of Canada and Quebec invest nearly $57 million to ensure cell coverage in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay region

Press Release

From: Infrastructure Canada

James Bay, Quebec, November 15, 2023 — To improve public safety and telecommunications services, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, and Jean Boulet, Minister Responsible for the Nord-du-Québec Region, have announced $56,907,036 in joint funding to Eeyou Mobility to extend cellular coverage on several roads in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay region.

Almost $37 million in funding for the first phase of the project will provide coverage along 47% of the region’s 1900 kilometres of highways in the region, with 30 tower sites in particular along the Billy-Diamond Highway, Routes 113, 167, 109, a part of Route du Nord. A cell site is also planned for the km 381 roadstop on the Billy-Diamond Highway.

In the second phase, $20 million will be used to improve coverage, with 16 new cell sites planned along access roads to communities. The construction of these strategic sites is intended to provide service for Cree traplines, hunting and fishing zones, and industrial and mining sites.


“Our government is proud to invest more than $28 million in the large-scale establishment of this mobile wireless network to serve the Eeyou Istchee James Bay region. This funding will help bridge the digital divide affecting the region’s communities, and will help ensure greater safety for residents and motorists using these roads.”

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“Your government made a commitment to implement various measures to serve the whole of Québec. The financial assistance announced today provides an excellent example of the determination and efforts devoted to finding sustainable solutions to the question of cell coverage.”

Eric Girard, Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for Relations with English-Speaker Quebecers

“This support from the Société du Plan Nord, amounting to $11 million, for the Eeyou Mobility initiative will clearly contribute to sustainable development in the area north of the 49th parallel. The general public, workers and companies will all benefit from better communications, simplified logistics and improved safety. I am delighted to see this major step forward for inhabitants and visitors to the region!”

Maïté Blanchette Vézina, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry and Minister responsible for the Société du Plan Nord

“The deployment of telecommunications services in the Nord-du-Québec region involves huge challenges, given the area’s vastness and remoteness. This investment of over $28 million by the Québec government will allow citizens in remote regions to benefit from the same modern infrastructures as the residents of major urban centres.”

Jean Boulet, Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for the Mauricie and Northern Quebec regions

“Access to adequate cell coverage is more than just a basic need for the Québec population. High-quality cell coverage also provides increased safety, easier communications, and a reliable link with the rest of the world. This essential project will clearly have a positive impact on quality of life for citizens in the region.”

Gilles Bélanger, Member of National Assembly for Orford and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance (high-speed Internet and special connectivity projects)

“Eeyou Mobility Inc. is very enthusiastic to be given the opportunity to provide this much needed service to the people of Eeyou Istchee and Baie-James. As we have completed the deployment of the service in all the communities of the region, the missing piece of the puzzle remained the coverage of the various roads of the region. The extensive cellular infrastructure we are deploying along the roads will greatly improve accessibility and safety for those living and travelling in the region, and improve the performance and reach of business operations and government services throughout Northern Québec. We are thankful to the governments of Québec and Canada in supporting this essential initiative.”

Henry Gull, president of Eeyou Mobility

“This important announcement is being greeted with great enthusiasm, as it brings to fruition a project that is colossal in scope, but essential for the population. Cellular coverage on the territory will contribute both to the socio-economic vitality of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James and to the safety of Jamesian and Cree citizens. Many thanks to our financial and implementation partners.”

René Dubé, chair, board of directors of the James Bay Regional Government

“This $57M investment in infrastructure will greatly benefit the lives of our population. By providing first-rate cellular coverage throughout Eeyou Istchee, Eeyou Mobility’s project will significantly contribute to the connectivity of the region, while prioritizing safety and ensuring that we are always within reach while traveling our vast territory. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all stakeholders for their unwavering commitment to this important project that has long been a need of our region.”

Mandy Gull-Masty, Grand Chief, Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) / Cree Nation Government

Quick facts

  • For phase 1 of the project, the Government of Canada is contributing $18,404,824. The Ministère du Conseil Exécutif du Québec is contributing $10,404,824, while the Société du Plan Nord is investing $8,000,000. For Phase 2, the Government of Canada is investing $10,048,694, while the Ministère du Conseil Exécutif du Québec is contributing $7,048,694. Société du Plan Nord is contributing $3,000,000 to this second phase of the project.
  • The Government of Canada’s funding comes from the Rural and Northern Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
  • This stream supports projects that increase access to more efficient and reliable energy sources, improve community infrastructure, and improved internet connectivity for rural and northern communities.
  • Including today’s announcement, 17 infrastructure projects or project bundles under the Rural and Northern Infrastructure Stream have been announced in Quebec, with a total federal contribution of more than $265 million and a total provincial contribution of more than $247 million.  
  • Under the Investing in Canada Plan, the federal government 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.
  • Infrastructure Canada helps address complex challenges that Canadians face every day—ranging from the rapid growth of our cities, to climate change, and environmental threats to our water and land.
  • Funding from the Government of Canada is conditional on meeting its Environmental Assessment and Indigenous Consultation obligations. Consultations with the Cree Nation are ongoing.
  • Funding from the Ministère du Conseil exécutif is made possible by the Québec haut débit program, which provides financial support for projects that offer citizens, organizations and businesses in rural areas a high-speed Internet connection, including mobile wireless service.
  • The $11 million granted by the Société du Plan Nord comes from the Fonds du Plan Nord. The mission of the Société du Plan Nord is to contribute to the integrated and coherent development of Quebec’s northern territory, within a perspective of sustainable development. It does so in accordance with the orientations defined by the government, and in consultation with representatives of the regions and Indigenous nations concerned, as well as the private sector.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Micaal Ahmed
Office of the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

Claudia Loupret
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance and
Minister responsible for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers

Louis-Julien Dufresne
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for the Mauricie, Abitibi Témiscamingue and Nord-du-Québec regions

Laurie Richard
Communication Advisor
Société du Plan Nord
418-643-1874, ext. 66455

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