Coordinates: 45°47′N 75°05′W / 45.783°N 75.083°W / 45.783; -75.083
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Coordinates: 45°47′N 75°05′W / 45.783°N 75.083°W / 45.783; -75.083
CountryCanada Canada
ProvinceQuebec Quebec
Regional County
Municipalities (RCM) and Equivalent
Territories (ET)
 • Regional conference of elected officersPaulette Lalande (President)
 • Total33,442 km2 (12,912 sq mi)
 • Land30,467 km2 (11,763 sq mi)
 • Total404,265
 • Density13.3/km2 (34/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Postal code
Area code819|873

Outaouais (/təw/, French pronunciation: [utawɛ]; also commonly called The Outaouais) is a region of western Quebec, Canada. It includes the city of Gatineau, the municipality of Val-des-Monts, the municipality of Cantley and the Papineau region. Geographically, it is located on the north side of the Ottawa River opposite Canada's capital, Ottawa. It has a land area of 30,467 square kilometres (11,763 sq mi) [3]and its population was 404,265 inhabitants as of 2021.[4]

From 2016 to 2020, the Outaouais has a lower per capita disposable income than the rest of Quebec.

It was $31,055 in 2020, compared to $33,093 in Quebec overall.

In 2020, the unfavourable margin grew to 6.2%.[5]


The name of the region comes from the French name for the Ottawa River, which in turn comes from the French name for the Indigenous Odawa that lived near the region. Prior to European arrival in the region, the areas along the Ottawa River were commonly used by various tribes to trade and gather.

The oldest European settlement in the region is Hull (now a neighbourhood of Gatineau) which was founded in 1800 by Philemon Wright as Wright's Town. The settlement quickly became involved in the lumber trade, which continued along the Ottawa River until the late 20th century. None of the original town buildings remain today, as they were destroyed in the 1900 Hull–Ottawa fire. Hull remained a city until 2002, when it was merged with several neighboring cities to form the current city of Gatineau.


For the next few years, the Outaouais is predicted to enjoy continuous demographic increase.

From 2021 to 2026, the region's population is predicted to expand faster than the rest of Quebec (+4.8% against +4.2%).

Longer-term projections show that the region's population will expand faster than Quebec's for each following five-year period.

Demographic trends and outlook
2021-2026 2026-2031 2031-2036 2036-2041
Outaouais 4,8 % 2.8% 2.2% 1.8%
The province of Quebec 4.2% 2.4% 1.9% 1.6%

Year after year, the Outaouais' net migration (inflows minus outflows) with other areas is positive.

Yet, for the first time in 20 years, the area had negative net migration in 2020-2021.

Historically, the Outaouais area averaged positive inter-regional migration balances, gaining 541 residents each year for a net rate of +0.14% from 2016 to 2021.

Interregional migration rate

  • 2016-2017 : 0,16 %
  • 2017-2018 : 0,25 %
  • 2018-2019 : 0,19 %
  • 2019-2020 : 0,12 %
  • 2020-2021 : -0,01 %


In 2021, the situation on the Outaouais labour market has improved. Employment increased by 9,500 positions.

The participation rate increased to 63.7%. The negative gap between the region's participation rate and that of Quebec narrowed from 1.0 to 0.4 percentage points.

The employment rate increased to 60.2% in the region. The region now has an employment rate comparable to that of Quebec (60.1%).

Since 1999, the Outaouais has generally had a lower unemployment rate than Quebec as a whole. In 2021, this trend continued; the unemployment rate decreased by 2.5 percentage points to 5.6%, compared to 6.1% for Quebec as a whole. This decrease is explained by the improvement in employment.[6]

The Outaouais' industrial structure matches its mission, which is concentrated on government services. As a result, the economy is heavily geared towards the service sector.

In 2021, the primary sector in the Outaouais accounted for a lower proportion of jobs than the primary sector in Quebec as a whole (1.4% vs. 2.2%).

Also, the manufacturing sector employed less people than the rest of Quebec (4.0% vs. 11.3%).

Nonetheless, the construction sector employed more people in the Outaouais (8.4%) than in Quebec overall (6.7%).

The region's economy is dominated by tertiarization. The tertiary sector's percentage of total employment (86.1%) is substantially larger than that reported in Quebec overall (79.7%). This finding is explained by the significance of public services.

In 2021, the Outaouais would account for 4.7% of Quebec's population and 4.6% of its jobs.[7]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Regional county municipalities[edit]

Regional County Municipality (RCM) Population
Canada 2021 Census.
Change (%) Land Area Density
(pop. per km2)
Seat of RCM
La Vallée-de-la-Gatineau 20,547 Increase1.8% 12,362.49 km2 (4,773.18 sq mi) 1.7 Gracefield
Les Collines-de-l'Outaouais 54,498 Increase11% 2,025.38 km2 (782.00 sq mi) 26.9 Chelsea
Papineau 24,308 Increase6.5% 2,903.45 km2 (1,121.03 sq mi) 8.4 Papineauville
Pontiac 14,764 Increase3.6% 12,824.36 km2 (4,951.51 sq mi) 1.2 Campbell's Bay
Gatineau (Ottawa-Gatineau (Quebec part)[8] 353,293 Increase6.3% 3,381.83 km2 (1,305.73 sq mi) 104.5 Gatineau

First Nations Reserves[edit]

Major communities[edit]

School districts[edit]




  1. ^ a b "Census Profile, 2016 Census Outaouais [Economic region], Quebec". Statistics Canada. 8 February 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  2. ^ "La région de l'Outaouais, ainsi que ses MRC et TE". Profils des régions et des MRC (in French). Quebec: Institut de la statistique du Québec. 2011. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Occupation du territoire". Ministère de l'Économie, de l'Innovation et de l'Énergie (in Canadian French). Retrieved 2023-02-24.
  4. ^ "Occupation du territoire". Ministère de l'Économie, de l'Innovation et de l'Énergie (in Canadian French). Retrieved 2023-02-24.
  5. ^ "Conditions de vie". Ministère de l'Économie, de l'Innovation et de l'Énergie (in Canadian French). Retrieved 2023-02-24.
  6. ^ "Économie". Ministère de l'Économie, de l'Innovation et de l'Énergie (in Canadian French). Retrieved 2023-02-24.
  7. ^ "Structure économique". Ministère de l'Économie, de l'Innovation et de l'Énergie (in Canadian French). Retrieved 2023-02-24.
  8. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (2022-02-09). "Profile table, Census Profile, 2021 Census of Population - Ottawa - Gatineau (Quebec part) [Census metropolitan area part], Quebec". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 2023-02-27.

External links[edit]