Canadian permanent residency application – do I need to stay in the country during application processing? [migrated]

I am an American citizen living in Québec for the past 3.5 years. The first 6 months were under a student visa, and the last 3 years have been under two separate work visas (under NAFTA). I have submitted my application to the Québec government to obtain a CSQ, I should receive my CSQ within the next few weeks.

Next step will be to submit my application to the federal government under the Quebec Skilled Worker Class track (I’ve read that the average application processing time, for this application track, is roughly 15 months).

I plan to travel for roughly a year, starting this December. My question is, must I remain in Canada for any/all of the time while my application with the federal government is pending?