Infrastructure consists of a network of facilities needed by communities to carry out their day-to-day activities such as buildings, transportation networks (roadways, railroads, etc.), as well as water, sewage and energy systems. They form the backbone of society thanks to the often essential services they provide in all activity sectors and at all scales.
Quebec maintains a road network spanning more than 300,000 km as well as over 6,000 km of railway. Approximately 30 airports also operate throughout the province, most of which are located in remote or isolated regions and which play an essential role in connecting distant communities. The commercial port system comprises a total of 20 ports that act as a bridge between commercial waterways and land routes. Approximately 110 million tonnes of goods pass through these ports annually. Lastly, an extensive electricity grid comprising approximately 34,000 km of transmission lines connects the large hydroelectric complexes concentrated in northern Quebec to major consumption centres farther south.
In light of the magnitude of services provided by the many types of infrastructure that stretch across the province and shape our society, it is important to ensure that they are both resilient and secure. Climate change can degrade the physical integrity of infrastructure and/or the services that it provides. Though much of this infrastructure was designed to withstand or remain functional under certain extreme historic conditions, it must be borne in mind that the climate is changing rapidly. In this context, infrastructure must be designed in accordance with anticipated climate conditions, as historic conditions are not necessarily indicative of those of the future.