The Foundation of Greater Montréal unveils its flagship report: the 7th edition of Greater Montréal’s Vital Signs
(Montréal, October 6, 2015) Today, at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal, the Foundation of Greater Montréal (FGM) unveiled a new edition of its flagship report, entitled Greater Montréal’s Vital Signs 2015. The report delivers a comprehensive picture of the economic and social reality of the metropolitan area and its 82 municipalities. There are 29 community foundations across Canada and 14 similar British foundations that are simultaneously presenting the vital signs of their community today.
"Since the last publication of Greater Montréal's Vital Signs, in 2012, we can say in general terms that the skies in Montréal have cleared and there are signs of a renewed confidence and a stronger sense of belonging following the most recent municipal elections. But even though our city has made great strides in certain ways, it still faces persistent social problems," said Yvan Gauthier, President and CEO of the Foundation of Greater Montréal. "The metropolitan area is changing overall, and this process of change is the central theme of the report that I am presenting today," added Mr. Gauthier.
Greater Montréal as the driving force in Quebec’s economy
"On the economic front, Greater Montréal is more than ever the main engine of Quebec, contributing 53.4% of GDP in the province; for comparison, Toronto accounts for 30% of Ontario GDP. Greater Montréal also represents 49% of Quebec’s population, and more than 50% of its tax revenue," said Mr. Gauthier. According to Vital Signs 2015, Greater Montréal can rely on a diversified economy and is competitive in multiple aspects of economic life. It ranks first among major North American cities for operating costs and corporate tax burden. Montréal is also steadily gaining ground as a global financial centre: it is now listed in 18th place among the 81 major hubs worldwide. It is also a changing economy, in various forms, by virtue of its strong social economy and the growing popularity of its sharing economy.
Greater Montréal: a creative and cultural metropolis
“Our city is a cultural force on the international scene, with an energy that is nourished by its many kinds of influence and its great diversity,” commented Mr. Gauthier. "In 2013, arts and culture generated an economic impact of $7.4 billion in the metropolitan area. This is an increase of 12% compared to 2008. The city centre remains the cultural hub of the metropolis, but we now see that arts and culture are spreading more and more throughout the territory of Greater Montréal,” explained Mr. Gauthier.
Montréal, city of knowledge
Montréal is the second-largest university city in North America, with a population of some 170,000 students, including 20,000 foreign students. The number of university graduates has doubled since 1990.
In Greater Montréal, for nearly 15 years, the percentage of people aged 15 and under has continued to decline, while the population that is 65 and over has continued to grow. Even though in 2011 over 88% of immigrants to Quebec chose Montréal as their destination, and over the previous 10 years Greater Montréal’s population grew by 11%, this growth trails behind Toronto and Vancouver, which exceeded 15% in both respects. “The metropolitan area has mostly experienced eccentric population growth. Over 80% of the population growth of Greater Montréal was due to increases off the island,” said Mr. Gauthier. “Our population is aging considerably, and we have nearly as many seniors as young people. However, Montréal also has the highest birth rate in Quebec,” the Foundation CEO noted.
Despite the favourable outlook, socioeconomic inequalities and hardship remain
“While the poverty rate is decreasing in Greater Montréal, economic hardship remains very present,” said the CEO of the Foundation. “In 2010, more than 145,000 people made use of food banks and this extreme vulnerability is being experienced by a growing number of immigrants. Between 2008 and 2013, the number of immigrants using food banks increased by 11.8 percent,” noted Mr. Gauthier.
“Overall, our city is a very peaceful one. It places 36th among 38 metropolitan areas in terms of the number of homicides each year. But despite this fairly encouraging picture, violence in Montréal has an extremely troubling aspect. It comes first among Canadian cities, ranking far ahead of Toronto and Vancouver, in levels of family violence," noted Mr. Gauthier. “We have a serious problem, and this problem applies to all age groups.”
Homelessness: a persistent phenomenon
In 2015, it was estimated that 3,016 people were visibly homeless on the Island of Montréal. “At this level of extreme insecurity, women represent almost a quarter of the people who are homeless, but more than half of those in transitional housing. And whereas Aboriginal people make up only 0.56% of the Montréal population, they represent 10% of people who are homeless,” said Mr. Gauthier.
For the environment, time’s a-wasting
“From 2008 to 2013, the number of cars in Greater Montréal increased two times faster than the number of people. The metropolitan area saw 11.4% more cars, but 5.1% more residents. There are even more cars in Montréal now, and road congestion costs us collectively $1.4 billion per year!” noted the Foundation CEO. In 2014, there were 64 days of poor air quality on the Island of Montréal, an increase of 20% over the previous year.
Yvan Gauthier ended his speech with an appeal for greater commitment from businesses, organizations and residents to strengthen the community-based social net which has been woven throughout Greater Montréal. “While the success of a large city can be measured by its ability to grow, our success should also, perhaps above all, be measured by our ability to advance hope. This is the ambition that must unite us and mobilize us for the 375th anniversary in 2017, so that everyone in Greater Montréal, in every district and borough, will feel they have real cause for celebration,” concluded Mr. Gauthier.
To stimulate reflection in the community, and to encourage greater synergy between key stakeholders in "vital" sectors of society and the residents of Greater Montréal, the FGM will present, by early November, five discussion panels to debate the issues it classifies as "vital".
Presentation text by the Foundation of Greater Montréal
Vital Signs of Greater Montréal 2015 is available on the FGM website: www.fgmtl.org
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Media contacts :
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Fondation du Grand Montréal
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