Natural Resources in Quebec

Quebec’s natural resources include forests, hydroelectricity, minerals, agricultural land, rivers, lakes, wind energy, fish and wildlife.

La Grande-1 generating station

La Grande-1 is a hydroelectric generating station that forms part of the James Bay Project.

Most of Quebec lies on the Canadian Shield, where there are many rich renewable resources including forests, wildlife and fish. Rivers that run off the Canadian Shield into the St. Lawrence Lowlands and James Bay are a large source of hydroelectric power. Quebec’s dams help make up for its lack of fossil fuel resources (see James Bay Project; Hydro-Québec).

In addition to their importance as wildlife habitat, Quebec’s many freshwater lakes and rivers offer recreational opportunities. The St. Lawrence River is a key transportation route.

Good-quality agricultural soils are limited to the southern portion of the province near the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa River. But Quebec ranks second (after British Columbia) in the productivity of its large forested area.

Softwood lumber
Softwood lumber pile in Saguenay, Quebec.

Its important mineral resources include iron, gold and some base metals.

In northern Quebec, near James Bay, a large Cree population continues to economically depend on fish and wildlife. The James Bay Cree also receive financial contributions from the James Bay generating station imposed on Cree and Inuit communities in the 1970s (see James Bay Project).

Quebec’s capacity to generate power from wind energy is second only to Ontario. In 2018, Quebec had 30 per cent of Canada’s capacity for wind-generated electricity.