THE GREATER MONTRÉAL BUSINESS COMMUNITY’S PRIORITIES

With the federal election campaign under way, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal presents the business community’s three main priorities for helping Montréal fulfill its role as a major city and an economic driver of Canada.

With the federal election campaign under way, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal presents the business community’s three main priorities for helping Montréal fulfill its role as a major city and an economic driver of Canada.

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Discover the parties' responses to the business community's requests (in French only):

BLOC QUÉBÉCOIS

NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF CANADA

LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA

1. Make investments in public transit infrastructures earlier than promised in the 2014-2015 budget

In its most recent budget, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Public Transit Fund, with $1.75 billion in funding over three years. The Fund is set to begin operation in 2017-2018. The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal asks the next federal government to honour this commitment and speed up its implementation so that funds can be available beginning in 2016-2017.

Issues

Greater Montréal, like other major Canadian areas, is facing increasing traffic problems, which reduce economic and business productivity. If nothing is done, the traffic problem will limit the appeal of Canada and its major cities to private investors. According to recent estimates, traffic congestion costs the Greater Montréal economy over $1.8 billion annually.

To deal with the growing problem of urban traffic, Montréal and other major Canadian cities need modern, efficient public transit systems. Local governments and provinces have already committed to massive investments in public transit and cannot foot the bill alone. Canada needs a national program to develop public transit infrastructures. The eligibility criteria for the Fund should enable a financial contribution to strategic infrastructures for our city, particularly light rail transit (LRT) projects.

Action required

  • Maintain the Public Transit Fund announced in the 2014-2015 budget.
  • Implement this national effort earlier, by 2016-2017.

2. Améliorer l’accès au financement pour le commerce international

The Board of Trade asks the parties to commit to doubling the amount dedicated to the direct financial assistance program for entrepreneurs who want to develop new markets and to make a larger portion of that money available beginning in 2015-2016. Many of the city’s businesses are poised to take advantage of the new vitality in the American economy. Therefore, the program should focus on projects from businesses targeting the American market.

Issues

Access to financing is a challenge for Canadian SMEs that want to develop new markets, and the city’s businesses are no exception. The investments required when an SME initially enters a new market are critical, particularly given that it can take up to three years to achieve profitability. In March, the Board of Trade applauded the government’s announcement regarding a new program that would provide $50 million in direct financial assistance over five years to entrepreneurs who want to develop new export markets. To allow the city’s businesses to make the most of the favourable economic situation in the U.S. and the drop in the Canadian dollar and to offset the effects of the current recession, this program needs to be improved.

Action required

  • Double the amount dedicated to the direct financial assistance program for entrepreneurs who want to develop new export markets.
  • Allocate a greater portion of funds to this effort beginning in 2015-2016.
  • Favour projects that target the American market.

3. Review the Temporary Foreign Worker Program reform to reflect the reality of the city and its businesses

The Board of Trade asks the next government to adapt the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to better respond to the economic and demographic challenges of Quebec and Montréal. The TFWP should offer employers greater flexibility in hiring temporary or seasonal labour to fill positions for which local labour is insufficient.

Issues

The city’s businesses are facing a major challenge in skilled labour, particularly in high-value-added sectors. For many of them immigration is strategic to ensuring their growth and sustainability.

Limiting business access to temporary labour, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program reform, in effect since April 30, will hamper economic development in Quebec and Montréal. Whether in key high-value-added sectors such as the video game industry – which goes through cycles of creation with specific needs over a short period of time – or sectors with a significant need for unskilled seasonal labour, the existing program puts major projects and investments at risk, along with businesses and thousands of Quebec jobs.

Action required

  • Offer employers greater flexibility in hiring temporary and seasonal labour.
  • Streamline the application process and processing timeframes for temporary foreign workers.
  • Reduce the administrative and regulatory burden of SMEs.

“This election is a great time to look at the issues we need to deal with as a society. One of the most fundamental issues is ensuring that businesses in major metropolitan areas can contribute as much as possible to wealth and job creation. The Government of Canada has the leverage the Greater Montréal business community needs. It’s time to make our voices heard.”

- Michel Leblanc, President and CEO



Press Room

Élections fédérales 2015 - La Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain félicite le nouveau gouvernement du Canada (ENGLISH TO COME)

2015 Federal Elections - The Board of Trade calls on the parties to commit to speeding up development of strategic infrastructure for the city

The party platforms

Bloc Québécois (BQ)

Conservative Party of Canada (CPC)

Liberal Party of Canada (LPC)

Green Party of Canada (GPC)

New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP)