Éric Forest has worked for the development of Eastern Quebec for over 40 years. As the Mayor of Rimouski since 2005, he has engaged the Rimouski community through a strategic plan that guides the development of a respectful, united community. Under his leadership, Rimouski is now recognized as one of the best cities to live in Canada, with a strong cultural vitality and an economic structure geared to the knowledge economy. He entered politics at age 27, as a councillor in Pointe-au-Père – and was elected mayor two years later. After spending some time in the business community, as the co-owner and vice-president of a car dealership, he returned to politics in 1994, as a councillor with the City of Rimouski, before becoming mayor. From 1995 to 2005, he was vice-president and director general of the Océanic hockey club, where he set the goal of making the Océanic an instrument for social cohesion for all of Eastern Quebec. He became the Mayor of Rimouski in 2005, and he chaired the Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ) for almost four years, from 2010 to 2014, in the context of a major crisis of confidence by citizens toward their municipal elected officials. His commitment helped to bring together the municipal sector, through two provincial summits that led to the preparation of a white paper on the future of municipalities. While Chair of the UMQ, he also implemented a social and professional integration project that enabled youth from youth centres to have an enriching work experience within their city’s municipal team. In 2014, he received the Jean-Paul L’Allier Award, which honours a Quebec elected official for outstanding vision, leadership and achievements in urban planning and land use planning. Mr. Forest is also very active in numerous social causes and is particularly committed to encouraging young people and women to become involved in politics, within the scope of his responsibilities with the UMQ and the L’Effet A movement.