Montreal, February 12, 2004 Today, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal announced the results of a study carried out by the Territorial Review and Governance Division of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) on the competitiveness and positioning of Montreal compared with 65 major metropolitan areas around the world with more than two million inhabitants.
Given the crucial role now played by metropolitan municipalities on the world stage from an economic, cultural, social, and environmental perspective, the Board of Trade is pleased to have coordinated this rigorous analysis carried out under the watchful eye of a well-known international organization of the calibre of the OECD, declared Benoit Labonté, president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
In its report, the OECD stresses that while Montreal is one of Canada's major economic centres and possesses definite assets economic vitality and many high-performance industrial sectors along with numerous strengths, particularly on the cultural, education, and social levels it nevertheless lags behind in terms of per capital GDP, ranking 44th among the 65 large metropolitan areas in the OECD zone.
The aspects to improve outlined in the report are Montreal's low productivity caused, among other things, by relatively low education levels and insufficient investment in research and development as well as the need to quickly consolidate local and metropolitan governance.
The conclusions of the OECD report confirm many of our intuitions: Montreal has the potential to become more competitive with the world's other great metropolitan municipalities, but it still does not take full advantage of all its resources. In many respects, the OECD study corroborates many of the observations already made about the metropolitan area by the Picard (1986) and Pichette (1993) reports. It is time we double our efforts if we want our metropolis to become a front-line player in the global economy as well as the great hub of innovation, productivity, and competitiveness it aspires to be, continued Labonté.
If Montreal wants to fulfil its enormous potential and measure up to the Bostons, Chicagos, Milans, Munichs, and other great metropolises of the world, it must first of all plan its development in a more coherent manner. The Montreal Metropolitan Community is well placed to play a decisive role in this regard. This coherence must be accompanied by greater cohesion among the strategic players in the metropolitan region, thanks in particular to the completion of governance reforms already begun. Finally, to counter its low productivity and stimulate innovation, Montreal must demonstrate more creativity an essential condition for supporting its economic growth, concluded Labonté.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its primary mission is to represent the interests of the business community of the Greater Montreal region and, as a contributing and responsible player, to promote the economic development of the urban area. Encompassing three specialized services (Info entreprises, the Electronic Commerce Institute and World Trade Centre Montréal) that serve merchants and businesses of all sizes throughout Quebec and Canada, the Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.
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Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
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