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Press release: The Board of Trade again stresses the need for the Quebec government to begin construction of the two university hospital centers in Montreal

Press release

The Board of Trade again stresses the need for the Quebec government to begin construction of the two university hospital centers in Montreal

Montreal, August 28, 2002 - The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal urges Health Minister François Legault to include in his plan to revamp Quebec health care the project to build two university hospital centres affiliated with the faculties of medicine of the Université de Montréal (CHUM) and McGill University (MUHC).

"The CHUM and MUHC projects meet real needs of the health-care system and are thus part of the larger picture of measures that must be taken to maintain and develop the Quebec health-care system," declared Benoit Labonté, president of the Board of Trade. At a time when the Landry government is putting the final touches to its review of the health-care system, and as communicated to the Premier himself last May, the Board of Trade firmly believes that the construction of the two hospital centers is critical to meeting growing needs and ensuring the delivery of state-of-the-art health services to all Quebecers.

"The Board of Trade believes this project is essential to the development and retention, in Montreal, of the specialized skills and technological innovations required for the delivery of high-calibre health care services - among the best in the world - to all Quebecers," he noted.

It was in the wake of an in-depth study of the issue in Spring 2002 carried out by the Board of Trade's Social affairs committee that the president of the Board of Trade adopted this position on behalf of its members. In a letter to Premier Landry, the Board of Trade communicated its position, specifying three conditions essential to the project's success:

Fast action: Despite the difficult context in which the Quebec health-care system is evolving, it is essential that the government quickly announce its intentions so that the project is not unduly delayed.

Transparency and realism: Transparency, realism, and rigour with regard to costs and financing are also essential, in the Board of Trade's opinion, to the success of the two teaching hospitals. Transparency would also ensure the rigor and financial realism of the project.

A proactive approach: It is important to place the construction of the two teaching hospitals within the context of the health-care network of which they are a part and to maintain a proactive approach with regard to the entire network once their construction is begun.

Beneficial spin-offs for Greater Montreal

Montreal, the only Canadian city with two faculties of medicine, boasts the highest concentration of medical research in the country. This undeniable comparative advantage must be not only maintained but also strengthened. Construction of the CHUM and the MUHC would meet this need.

In addition, by promoting the development of the two Montreal faculties of medicine through its investment in the construction of the two hospitals, the Quebec government would create a growth centre attracting companies, research funds, professionals, researchers, and foreign students.

"Whether for the direct and indirect economic spin-offs generated by the building of these two university hospitals or the important discoveries that could be made there, the Board of Trade sees this project primarily as an investment in the collective future of Greater Montreal and thus of all Quebec," added Labonté.

The Board of Trade is also aware that initiatives dealing, among other things, with relieving choked emergency rooms, providing home care services, increasing financial resources, and completing the shift toward ambulatory care will still be important, if not essential. It is time to move from treatment to prevention within the context of a mobilizing social project.

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has more than 7 000 members. Its mission is to be the leading group representing the interests of the Greater Montreal business community. The objectives are to maintain, at all times, relevance to its membership, credibility towards the media and influence towards government and decision-makers.


Isabelle Hudon, director, Communications
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: (514) 871-4000, ext. 4010


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