The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

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The Board of Trade asks the government to drop the ban on conspicuous religious symbols for public sector employees

Montréal, September 12, 2013 ‒ The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has acknowledged the Charter of Quebec Values proposed by the Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship, Bernard Drainville, and asks the government to modify its proposal. Contrary to what the Minister has claimed, the Board of Trade believes that the business community has more to lose with the Charter as proposed than with the status quo.


“The government’s proposal is generating a great deal of concern in the Montréal business community,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “It could harm the city’s reputation and its economic performance.”


“The availability of qualified workers in sufficient numbers is the most important economic challenge businesses will face in the coming decades,” Mr. Leblanc said. “This is why the business community is intent on doing everything possible to help integrate immigrants to the workplace and attract foreign talent. But the government’s proposal stigmatizes workers who wear religious symbols, who are often immigrants. It is in direct opposition to what the city’s business community wants.”


“The integration of immigrants is an issue concentrated in the metropolitan area, where over 87% of recent immigrants to Quebec and the vast majority of citizens who clearly show their religious affiliation live,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Our long history of living together in harmony is a source of pride for Montréal. This is why the unanimous rejection of the draft Charter of Values by all of the Island’s municipalities and by the main candidates for Montréal mayor must be heard and respected.”


“The current debate is already having an impact on the city’s and the province’s reputation and image around the world,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Montréal has more to win by demonstrating its openness to cultural diversity and individual freedoms in order to attract skilled workers and investments it needs to grow and prosper. The Board of Trade asks the government to quickly end this debate by adopting a more inclusive approach that reflects the city’s concerns.”

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.



Michelle LLambias Meunier
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4042 

Twitter: @chambremontreal
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