On April 19, nearly 900 people attended Valérie Plante’s first speech to the Montréal business community since her election. The Mayor took the opportunity to present her administration’s 2018-2022 economic development strategy. Entitled “Accélérer Montréal” (accelerating Montréal), the strategy leverages the renewed vitality of the city, which has seen sustained momentum in terms of prosperity for a number of months. The strategy is also the first to be based on the city’s metropolitan status and the additional powers that that confers on Montréal to play its role as the economic driver of Québec.
“Accélérer Montréal” is based on five orientations to stimulate the city’s economic development. A total of $360 million will be invested in the next four years. The Plante administration intends to:
- leverage knowledge and talent
- stimulate entrepreneurship
- energize economic hubs
- offer Montréal international momentum
- support a powerful network
Here are three further highlights from her speech on her administration’s economic development strategy.
Eight upcoming action plans and a forum
While the strategy the Mayor presented outlined the major orientations and sectors around which they are organized – incidentally, all sectors of excellence in Montréal – it will be accomplished through eight action plans, which will be disclosed in the spring and summer. These action plans, which address entrepreneurship, services to businesses, knowledge and talent, international economic affairs, social innovation, trade, the economic development of the territory and design, will lead to a major mobilizing forum in the fall that will bring together players involved in economic development.
The Mayor makes a commitment on taxation
The issue of the tax burden for Montréal businesses is absent from the strategy. The Mayor did not duck the issue, making a commitment to the business community that she will tackle the problem in the next few months. Valérie Plante put the proportion of revenue the Ville de Montréal generates from property tax at 70% and recognized that this was a problem, qualifying the current model as not viable. She intends to use the findings of the Report of the Working Group on Municipal Taxation, published in 2016, and work with the Government of Québec on this issue.
An exciting trade mission to Japan
Positioning Montréal internationally is a priority issue for the Plante administration, and it is central to its economic development strategy. The Mayor took advantage of the forum to express her enthusiasm about taking part in her first international trade mission to Japan with the CCMM. Valérie Plante intends to promote the city’s knowledge and talent and wants to close a maximum number of agreements during the trip. The trade mission is taking place June 1 to 8.
Valérie Plante made a number of commitments during her speech, in particular to create a hub with Montréal universities and businesses to retain graduates in the city. She also wants to increase the rate of investment and business start-ups. To do this, she is banking primarily on the population and talent, which she considers the city’s greatest asset.