NEWS: Nunavik August 10, 2012 - 12:37 pm

Charest proposes distance learning for Plan Nord training

“What we are proposing today is a more flexible training model"


Liberal party leader Jean Charest had Plan Nord on his campaign agenda this past week, the second week of campaigning before the Sept. 4 Quebec election.

Charest announced Aug. 10 in Val d’Or that if his party hangs on to power he plans to create a special fund for distance learning programs connected to Plan Nord.

He said he’s ready to commit $50 million over five years to develop distance learning courses “in existing infrastructure” so workers can be trained to fill jobs created by Plan Nord.

“What we are proposing today is a more flexible training model,” Charest said.

Charest said his government would also spend $15 million over five years on a university network plan, which would see Quebec universities working together to offer northerners more access to a university-level education, with a northern focus.

Plan Nord is “one of the most ambitious projects that Quebec has embarked on,” and it will mean the creation of an average of 20,000 jobs per year,  Charest said, so Quebec must act now to make sure that the training matches industry’s needs.

Also this week, Charest said that a re-elected Liberal government would start up a “Savings Plan North,” as a way for Quebecers to invest in companies doing work linked to Plan Nord — and get tax breaks.

Under this scheme, Quebecers could invest up to $5,000 a year and receive a non-refundable tax credit of 10 per cent, for a maximum credit of $500.

“The development of the territory under Plan Nord constitutes an historic opportunity for Quebecers,” Charest said. “This is one of the largest development projects in the world that will unfold over 25 years and will involve considerable investment,” Charest said.