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

JAMES BAY,  QC, Nov. 14, 2023 /CNW/

To improve public safety and telecommunications services, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, and the Minister Responsible for the Nord-du-Québec Region, Jean Boulet, have announced $56,907,036 in financial assistance for Eeyou Mobility to extend cell coverage along several highways in Eeyou Istchee James Bay.

Almost $37 million in funding for the first phase of the project will provide coverage along 47% of the 1,900 kilometres of highways in the region, with 30 tower sites in particular along the Billy-Diamond Highway, Routes 113, 167 and 109, and part of the Route du Nord. A cell site is also planned for the Kilometre 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-Speaking Quebecers

“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 Region, the Abitibi-Témiscamingue Region and the Nord-du-Québec Region

“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 Forests and Minister Responsible for the Bas-Saint-Laurent Region and the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine Region

“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, MNA for Orford and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance (high-speed Internet and special connectivity projects)

“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

“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


  • Allocation of financial assistance for the two phases:
SourcePhase I ($)Phase II ($)
Infrastructure Canada18 404 82410 048 694
Ministère du Conseil exécutif (Québec haut débit)10 404 8247 048 694
Société du Plan Nord8 000 0003 000 000
Total ($)36 809 64820 097 388
  • Funding from the Government of Canada comes from the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
  • This stream supports projects to provide access to more efficient and reliable energy sources, improve community infrastructures, and improve broadband connectivity in rural and northern communities.
  • Taking today’s announcement into account, 17 infrastructure projects or groups of projects have been funded in Québec under the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, making a total federal contribution of more than $265 million and a total provincial contribution of more than $247 million.
  • Under the Investing in Canada program, the federal government is investing over $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructures, social infrastructures, trade and transportation routes, and rural and northern communities in Canada.
  • Infrastructure Canada is helping to meet the complex challenges that Canadians face every day, from the rapid growth of cities to climate change and environmental threats to water and land.
  • Funding from the Government of Canada is conditional on meeting its obligations in the area of environmental assessment and consultation of Indigenous peoples. Consultations with the Cree Nation are under way.
  • Funding from the Ministère du Conseil exécutif has been made possible thanks to the Québec broadband program, which provides financial support for projects that give citizens, organizations and companies in rural locations access to high-speed Internet services, including wireless mobile services.
  • The amount of $11 million from the Société du Plan Nord comes from the Fonds du Plan Nord. In a sustainable development perspective, the SPN’s mission is to contribute to the integrated, coherent development of Québec’s northern territory in keeping with the government’s orientations and in collaboration with the representatives of the regions and the Indigenous nations concerned and the private sector.

SOURCE Cabinet du ministre des Finances et ministre responsable des Relations avec les Québécois d’expression anglaise

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