Montréal, September 16, 2015 ‒ With the federal election campaign under way, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal presents its priorities for improving the Greater Montréal business environment.
The Board of Trade calls on the parties that would like to form the next federal government to formally commit to:
1. Making investments in public transit infrastructure earlier than promised in the 2014-2015 budget
“To deal with the growing problem of city traffic, Montréal and other major Canadian cities need a modern, efficient public transit system,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “Local and provincial governments have already committed to investing massively. But we need a national program to develop public transit infrastructures. The next Canadian government therefore needs to honour the commitment made in the last federal budget to create the Public Transit Fund, but also to back up the implementation date to 2016-2017. The eligibility criteria for the Fund should enable a financial contribution to strategic infrastructures for our city, particularly light rail transit (LRT) projects. This request has wide-based support and is in line with one of Montréal Mayor Denis Coderre’s priorities.”
2. Improving access to financing for international trade
“Access to financing is a challenge for Canadian SMEs that want to develop new markets,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Against a backdrop of seemingly flat economic performance, we need to do everything we can to encourage businesses to take full and immediate advantage of the favourable economic situation in the United States. The federal government planned on $50 million in financial assistance over five years for entrepreneurs who want to develop new export markets. Given the economic context, the government needs to double the amount for this program and make sure a significant portion of the funds become available beginning in 2015-2016.”
3. Reviewing the reform of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to better reflect the reality of the city and its businesses
“The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) reform in effect since April 30 will hamper economic development in Quebec and Montréal,” Michel Leblanc added. “The city’s businesses are facing a major challenge in terms of the availability of skilled labour and for many of them access to temporary workers is a strategic asset for ensuring their growth. Key high-value-added sectors such as the video game industry may end up reconsidering major projects and investments. The next government should review the TFWP to offer employers greater flexibility in hiring temporary and seasonal labour when local labour is not enough to satisfy their needs.”
“The city has new momentum,” Michel Leblanc said. “But to achieve our full potential, we need the next Canadian government to help create an environment conducive to the growth of local businesses. This will initially require massive investments in the public transit system, systematically encouraging export and streamlining the hiring of foreign workers when local labour is not sufficient.”
« La métropole bénéficie présentement d’un nouvel élan. Toutefois, pour atteindre notre plein potentiel, nous avons besoin que le prochain gouvernement canadien contribue à créer un environnement propice à la croissance de nos entreprises. Cela passe initialement par des investissements massifs dans le dispositif de transport en commun, par un encouragement systématique à l’exportation et par des conditions fluides pour embaucher des travailleurs étrangers lorsque la main-d’œuvre locale ne suffit pas », a conclu Michel Leblanc.
About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of over 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the voice of Montréal’s business community and to promote the city’s prosperity. It is involved in key areas of economic development, advocating a philosophy of action based on engagement, credibility, proactivity, collaboration, and innovation. The Board of Trade also offers a range of specialized services to individuals and to businesses of all sizes to support them in their growth at home and abroad.
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Michelle LLambias Meunier
Senior Advisor, Public Relations, and Press Attaché
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Phone: 514 871-4000, extension 4042
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