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Montreal Region’s Annual Check-up Released

(Montreal, October 2nd, 2007) The Foundation of Greater Montreal (FGM) released today its
second annual check-up on the health of Greater Montreal entitled Greater Montreal’s Vital Signs.
At the same time, the Community Foundations of Canada released the first Vital Signs national
report, and local reports were issued in ten other Canadian cities.

“This annual portrait of the factors that contribute to the quality of life in and around Montreal serves
as a guide for both public policy and philanthropic and volunteer initiatives,” explained Alex
Paterson, Chair of the Board of Directors of the FGM. “By underscoring the strengths and
weaknesses of our community, Vital Signs is intended to raise awareness of the challenges and
opportunities facing our community and inspire us to work together to address them.” 

Vital Signs presents a statistical outlook on different sectors of community life such as work, the
gap between the rich and the poor, learning, health and wellness, housing, getting around, safety,
the environment, arts and culture, getting started in the community as well as belonging and

From Left to Right: Marcel Côté, Partner, Secor Conseil inc., Kathleen Weil, 
President and CEO (FGM) and Alex Paterson, Vice-chairman Senior partner, 
Borden Ladner Gervais

The population of the metropolitan region in 2006 stood at 3,6 inhabitants. Last year only
international migrations showed a net positive balance. Over ten years the proportion of people
aged 75 years and over grew by 1.5% while those under 25 years fell by 2.3 %. 

The report highlights a number of positive indicators on several fronts:
• The unemployment rate continued its decline and now nears the Canadian average,
something which has not been seen for at least twenty years.
• Over the last ten years, the proportion of Montrealers having completed postsecondary
studies has increased significantly from 43% to 55%, higher than the Canadian average of
• In 2004, Montreal ranked first in Canada in the field of innovation, with 834 patents being
granted to residents of the region.
• Although Montreal ranks 16th among the 75 largest urban areas of North America by
population, it is 40th in terms of traffic congestion.
• Following a national trend, property crime rate is down. The region’s rate declined to its
lowest level in 15 years, ranking Montreal among the safest large urban regions.
However, the report also points to a number of challenges:
• In the metropolitan area, close to 24% of families were in the low-income category in 2005,
and 57% of those had children. A quarter of these were single-parent families.
• A high number of men (35%) and an even higher number of women (48%) aged 65 and
over live in poverty.
• First Nations and particularly the Inuit are over represented among the chronic homeless.
Among homeless Aboriginals, women are almost as numerous as men; among non-
Aboriginals, the ratio is estimated to be five men for every woman.
• In 2001, the unemployment rates of recent immigrants relative to Canadian-born workers
were 1.7 times higher across Canada, 2.6 times higher in Quebec and 3.4 times higher in
the Montreal region.
• In 2005 the Montreal region had 29% more general practitioners and specialists than the
Canadian average. However, on the Island 25% of women and 40% of men did not have a
family physician.
• At the secondary V level, only 39% of students excercise enough to be in good physical
shape. In the case of girls it was only 27%.
• The rate of household recycling in Montreal is three times less than the government target
of 60%. And at 460.5 litres per capita, water consumption has grown by 15.3% in three
years (2001-2004), while the Canadian average consumption declined by 1.3%.
“As it has over the past twelve months,” concluded Kathleen Weil, “Vital Signs will continue to
increase the effectiveness of our grant-making, while enabling donors to direct their philanthropy
towards issues and problems identified in the report. In our own case, it has led us to support a
wide range of community based projects from afterschool programs promoting physical activity
among children and teens to initiatives to keep seniors active and engaged in the community, local
campaigns to encourage Montrealers to buy locally and use active forms of transportation, and
programs to help reduce high-school drop-out rates by assisting children in their transition from
primary to secondary school.” 

In addition to the national report, Vital Signs reports were issued in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary,
Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Sudbury, Waterloo Region, Toronto, Ottawa and Saint John.
The Foundation of Greater Montreal is a charitable organization dedicated to promoting the wellbeing
of the community. It encourages the establishment of permanent endowment funds and
ensures their sound management, then redistributes the income in the form of grants to support
organizations across the entire community in a variety of areas, including health, social services,
arts and culture, education, and the environment. 

The Foundation of Greater Montreal is a member of Community Foundations of Canada (CFC), an
organization that currently includes 158 members across the country, with total assets of $2.3
billion. In 2006, these foundations granted some $115 million in support of local charitable projects. 


Kathleen Weil, President and CEO
The Foundation of Greater Montreal
Tel.: 514-866-0808