SYSTRA, Stantec and Desfor to take part in the feasibility study for Phase 1 of La Grande Alliance Infrastructure Program
20 April 2021

SYSTRA, Stantec and Desfor to take part in the feasibility study for Phase 1 of La Grande Alliance Infrastructure Program

Consortium firms reinforce their longstanding partnership with Cree communities in Northern Quebec.

Montreal, Quebec (April 20, 2021) – The Vision Eeyou Istchee Consortium (the “Consortium”), which consists of SYSTRA, Stantec and Desfor, with assistance from KPMG, has been selected by the Cree Development Corporation (CDC) to complete the feasibility study for Phase 1 of the La Grande Alliance’s infrastructure projects in northern Quebec. The study is part of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Cree-Quebec Sustainable Infrastructure Development Program in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Region.

The Consortium will conduct a study to evaluate the feasibility of the following infrastructure, in close collaboration with local communities and in harmony with sustainable development objectives:

  • Upgrades to the access roads linking the Cree communities of Waskaganish, Eastmain and Wemindji to the Billy-Diamond Highway;
  • Upgrade to the access road between the Cree community of Nemaska and the Route du Nord;
  • A railway line following, as much as possible, the Billy-Diamond Highway between the town of Matagami and KM257 of the Highway;
  • The recommissioning of the railway line between Grevet (Lebel-sur-Quévillon) and Chapais;
  • Trans-shipment areas along the Billy-Diamond Highway and the Grevet-Chapais railway corridors, specifically one located at KM257.

“We are embarking on a journey that will mark the beginning of a new relationship between First Nations and how infrastructure and any development is planned on the lands on which they depend,” says Davey Bobbish, President, Cree Development Corporation. “The upcoming Feasibility Study is innovative in that Cree communities and land users will be the primary voice in contemplating and planning infrastructure with a view to promoting true balance between traditional activity and development. The Vision Eeyou Istchee Team understood the importance of ensuring that the vision must come from community members and land users and so we are excited to take the first step in imagining a brighter future for Eeyou Istchee with them.”

“We are very proud and honoured to partner with the Cree Development Corporation (CDC) for their Grande Alliance vision, which will contribute to the development of Cree communities, increase interconnectivity and protect the Northern Quebec region,” stated Alessandro Cirella, Director at Stantec and the Consortium’s Project Director. “This study aims to improve the communities’ quality of life through the expansion of the transportation network. It will be carried out with the utmost respect for the land and Cree heritage, and will integrate sustainable development practices.”

The Consortium will make use of a wide variety of experts in the social sciences, heritage preservation, environment, railways, road engineering, bridges, transportation economics and infrastructure financing. The team will produce a socio-environmental study, market research, a technical feasibility study and an analysis of financing options and risks. A major onsite information gathering campaign and stakeholder consultation meetings are planned to identify sites of cultural and heritage significance and environmental constraints.


SYSTRA Canada is an engineering and consulting firm whose primary focus is to offer transportation solutions for passengers or goods. SYSTRA Canada is part of the SYSTRA group.

With its main office in Montreal (Quebec) since 1991, SYSTRA Canada delivers innovative consulting, engineering and project management services in all fields of transportation, including track and infrastructure, rolling stock, railway operations, signalling and telecommunications, economic and financial studies, marketing, institutional and management consulting, as well as support services.

Our service offer is grouped into three markets:

  • Freight & Mining: providing freight and mining clients with specific rail heavy haul solutions.
  • Transit: focusing on the Canadian passenger mobility market.
  • Rolling Stock: offering turnkey solutions for passenger cars, wagons and locomotives.

SYSTRA Canada has successfully carried out over 900 projects all over the world. SYSTRA Canada is recognized worldwide for its comprehensive railway expertise, whether in the freight and mining sector, promoting its knowledge of North American standards and rules, or in passenger mobility, offering a full set of expertise and know-how.

About Stantec

Communities are fundamental. Whether around the corner or across the globe, they provide a foundation, a sense of place and of belonging. That’s why at Stantec, we always design with community in mind.

We care about the communities we serve—because they’re our communities too. This allows us to assess what’s needed and connect our expertise, to appreciate nuances and envision what’s never been considered, to bring together diverse perspectives so we can collaborate toward a shared success.

We’re designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers, innovating together at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. Balancing these priorities results in projects that advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.

Stantec is traded on the Toronto (TSX) and New York (NYSE) stock exchanges under the symbol STN. Visit for more information.

About Desfor

Le groupe DESFOR and its affiliated companies have been doing projects in partnership with Quebec and Labrador First Nations for the last 25 years. Our story is based on trust and integrity, which allowed the company to grow. The remarkable know-how of our professionals makes possible the realization of turnkey projects in remote areas. Thanks to our expertise in forestry, environment, civil engineering and construction as well as many complementary services, we are a leader partner for multi-resource projects.

Our organization proposes winning solutions for the realization and management of entrepreneurial works and professional services in forestry and environment. Leader in partnerships with First Nations, we favor business opportunities that are related to natural resources, while targeting projects that will generate spin-offs and business development for our partners. Our multidisciplinary team as well as our experience, adaptability and the expertise quality of our resources are always at the forefront.

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