The Bas-Saint-Laurent region, cradle of horticultural peat in Quebec
Le Peat and Substrate Cluster (in French: Créneau d’excellence ACCORD Tourbe et substrats) exists since 2007. Its mission is to bring together the driving forces of the horticultural peat sector in the region so that they can work together on their common issues. The activities implemented are aimed at supporting the development of companies in the sector, both in the region and on a national and international scale. The focus is on strengthening industrial synergy, the emergence of innovative technologies, maintaining and increasing social responsibility and developing the sector’s own identity.
Le Cluster is based in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, the cradle of horticultural peat in Quebec, because of its history (peat has been harvested there for nearly 90 years) and its strategic location (several head offices of leading companies are located there). In addition to the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Côte-Nord and Centre-du-Québec are the other administrative regions where the activities of the Quebec horticultural peat industry are currently concentrated.
It is estimated that approximately 9,000 hectares (ha) has been used by the horticultural peat industry since 1930, which corresponds to about 0.06% of the total peatland area in Quebec. Approximately 6,200 ha is currently in production. Quebec production, according to MERN data for 2017, is estimated at 4 million standard 6-cubic-foot bales. The main uses for the material harvested are pure horticultural peat or peat used to make growing media for professional use or potting soils for amateur gardeners.
According to data compiled from companies’ members of the cluster, the entire sector generates (in Quebec):
• 2,000 full-time equivalent jobs (direct/indirect);
• a total annual GDP of more than $210 million, nearly half of which is direct GDP;
• fiscal and parafiscal revenues totalling close to $40 million
Quebec peat producers also own production sites elsewhere in Canada (New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) and operate processing plants and distribution sites in the United States.
Some companies also have business locations abroad (Europe, Asia, etc.). These locations outside Quebec are an advantage for the cluster, both in terms of visibility and the acquisition of commercial and technological knowledge.
Five-Year Action Plan and Strategic Directions
After more than 10 years of collaboration and consultation between the members and stakeholders, the cluster is embarking on a new five-year process (2019-2024). The studies, analyses and characterizations carried out over the years, coupled with the expertise acquired through the various projects carried out, have guided the reflections for the development of the new action plan.
The members of the cluster targeted four main strategic axes to ensure the development of the sector during the 2019-2024 period:
• Promote innovation so that members remain at the forefront of global market trends in their practices;
• Ensure the development, attraction, recruitment and retention of talent;
• Encourage social acceptability through the promotion of responsible business activities and practices and a strong communications strategy;
• Optimize internal communication and mobilization methods.
The mission of the cluster is to bring together the driving forces of the horticultural peat sector in Quebec so that they can work together on their common issues.
The activities implemented are designed to support the development of companies in the sector, both in the producing regions and on a national and international scale. The focus is on :
• Reinforcement of industrial synergy through the establishment of partnerships and linkages;
• Development of a business environment and human capital conducive to the emergence of innovative technologies;
• Maintaining and increasing social responsibility;
• The development and communication of the sector’s own identity
To be the voice in Quebec and internationally of our members’ successes in responsible resource management and their contribution to scientific advances in the horticultural peat sector, in order to ensure the development of the industry and the influence of Quebec players.
The members of the Peat & Substrate Cluster are:
- Campor Environnement
- Cégep de Rivière-du-Loup
- CLD de Rivière-du-Loup
- DEC Bas-Saint-Laurent
- Emploi Québec
- Gestion Bernard Bélanger
- Les Tourbes Nirom
- Les Tourbières Lambert
- Litière Ouellet
- MEI, direction Bas-Saint-Laurent
- Premier Tech Aqua
- Premier Tech Chronos
- Premier Tech Home & Garden
- Premier Tech Horticulture
- Premier Tech Technologies
- Sun Gro Horticulture
- Tourbière Réal Michaud et Fils inc.
- Tourbière Sylvain Moreau
- Ville de Rivière-du-Loup
For more information about the cluster ad its activities:
Stéphanie Boudreau, Executive Director