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The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal releases the study Culture in Montréal: Numbers, Trends and Innovative Practices

Montréal, June 1, 2015 – Today the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal released its study Culture in Montréal: Numbers, Trends and Innovative Practices, with Quebec’s Minister of Culture and Communications and the Minister responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language, Hélène David, along with representatives of the Ville de Montréal and the Conseil des arts de Montréal, in attendance. Backed by concrete data and case studies, this study – which updates the study on the economic benefits of culture in the city published by the Board of Trade in 2009 – confirms that culture is a major economic asset for the city, but one that still needs increased support from the business world and the community at large.

“This study reiterates the fundamental character of culture to our identity and its important role as a driver of the city’s economic development,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “The results presented today demonstrate it: despite the fact that its share in the metropolitan area’s economy is constantly growing, the cultural sector remains vulnerable. We need to come up with innovative solutions for financing and pay particular attention to small organizations.”

“The economy and culture are two essential, convergent areas that help lay the groundwork for a better future,” said Minister Hélène David. “Our government has always believed that investing to establish and consolidate Montréal’s status as a cultural city contributes to economic development. The study released today bears that out. So I am pleased with these numbers, which are a reminder of culture’s benefits to the economy.”

“The cultural industry in Montréal is very much like its creators: dynamic, innovative and always facing new challenges,” said Manon Gauthier, member of the Executive Committee of the Ville de Montréal responsible for culture, heritage, design, the Space for Life and the status of women. “We were looking forward to this update of the study on the economic benefits of culture in the city, given that the most recent results are from 2009. We applaud the efforts of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, which will enable us to work from a more recent and more revealing picture of what’s happening, as the cultural sector keeps being confronted with changes that redefine it.”

“The Conseil des arts is pleased to have contributed to this study,” said Jan-Fryderyk Pleszczynski, chair of the Conseil des arts de Montréal. “Better understanding arts organizations helps us target our support. Observing the sectors has enabled us to introduce a number of programs that go beyond financial aid. These include GO-C.A., which encourages members of the business community to serve on boards of arts organizations. Thanks to this initiative, we have had close to 200 new business recruits in Montréal organizations since 2011. There is also fiscal sponsorship, which encourages private sector contributions to Montréal arts organizations, and Jeunes mécènes pour les arts, a program we are associated with that gives young entrepreneurs, executives and professionals a way to band together to offer very attractive bursaries to Montréal artists.”

The following are three major findings of the study:

 1. The cultural sector still has an important place in the economy of Greater Montréal

“With some 83,000 jobs in 2013, the cultural sector compares favourably to a number of industrial clusters in the metropolitan area,” said Michel Leblanc. “For example, its footprint in the job market is almost twice that of aerospace or life sciences. Plus culture’s share of the economy keeps growing. It was 4.1% in 2013 compared with 2.9% in 1998.”

“Despite major changes that explain the slowdown in the sector’s growth in recent years – in particular an intensified move to digital technology – in 2013 the direct and indirect economic effects of culture totalled almost $11 billion in added value,” Michel Leblanc said. “That’s around 6% of Montréal’s GDP!”

 2. Private financing of culture varies by size of cultural organization

“Overall, in 2013, cultural organizations in the Greater Montréal area generated on average over 56% of their revenue through private sources,” Michel Leblanc said. “However, organizations with an operating budget over $1 million generated a larger share of their revenue from private sources. So in the coming years, we need to look at ways we can better support smaller organizations, in particular in the initial stages of promising, innovative projects.”

 3. Cultural organizations innovate and think outside the box to develop

“Interviews with large cultural organizations in different fields showed that their development is increasingly dependent on an open, bold vision that involves innovating by thinking outside the box,” Mr. Leblanc said. “These organizations’ efforts and successes should be better rewarded. But to truly help these organizations develop, we need to review the level of financing for matching programs to support culture once we have balanced public finances. They are one of the main sources of leverage available to cultural organizations that want to increase private financing.”

This Board of Trade study was made possible through the financial support of the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the cooperation of the Conseil des arts de Montréal.

Link to the study (English to come):

About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has 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 business of all sizes to support them in their growth at home and abroad.


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Michelle LLambias Meunier
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4042
Twitter: @chambremontreal
Follow the discussion: #ccmmqcca

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