Montréal, March 28, 2017 – The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM) applauds the measures announced in the budget released today by Quebec Minister of Finance Carlos Leitão. The budget directly echoes what the Chamber has been asking for. The budget targets education, training, and the development of skilled labour and includes major investment in cutting-edge fields that will drive the city’s future economy. It also confirms the government’s intention to invest in major infrastructure projects to improve transportation flow in Greater Montréal.
“We congratulate the Government of Quebec, which now has the fiscal means to invest in the province. After improving our public finances, it can now target strategic reinvestment to develop the economy of the future while starting the process to relieve the individual tax burden and the public debt-to-GDP ratio. The province can now act, and this is reassuring for the future of Montréal and Quebec’s economy,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.
Reinvesting in education and workforce training
“The Chamber is very satisfied with the government’s comprehensive approach to reinforce our education system, from early childhood to university. Montréal businesses have asked the government to take true action to upgrade infrastructure, hire the necessary resources, and above all allow institutions to perform medium- and long-term planning. The investments announced today are massive. They send a reassuring signal to the city’s business owners, who are worried about the availability of skilled workers in the coming decades,” continued Mr. Leblanc.
Meeting the challenge of integrating immigrants
“Quebec, and Montréal in particular, must face the challenge of integrating immigrants into the work force. The paradox is that we have many highly trained immigrants while thousands of jobs go unfilled. The budget has added significant funding to speed up educational assessments for immigrants, enhance the effectiveness of the PRIIME program, and help workers learn French. The Chamber is of course very pleased with the major increase in government support for our Interconnection Program, which provides immigrants with their first job experience in their field in Quebec. An additional $10 million over 5 years will triple the annual number of participants in the program,” added Mr. Leblanc.
Massive investment in the city's economic sectors of the future
“The Quebec government’s budget significantly invests in Greater Montréal’s promising growth sectors. Over $830 million will help develop the life sciences sector, support the creation of a super-cluster for artificial intelligence, and accelerate the city's transition to innovative manufacturing. This is in addition to support for smart and electric vehicles and additional tax deductions to help businesses go digital. This comprehensive and integrated strategy shows how Quebec and Montréal’s economy is thriving. It also builds on Montréal’s strengths and puts us in a good position, especially since many new technologies will shake up the business models of our companies in the coming years,” said Michel Leblanc.
Investing in the city’s infrastructure
“The Chamber also welcomes the government’s significant investment in critical transportation infrastructure in the metropolitan area. The budget recognizes the developmental impacts that the REM will have on the city and sets out dedicated funding for this project. It also confirms the eastward extension of the blue metro line. The business community has a strong consensus around these two infrastructure projects, which are in addition to previous commitments to create dedicated public transit lanes. The Government of Quebec’s orientations will help make Montréal a city of the future that can meet 21st-century transportation needs,” added Mr. Leblanc.
Reducing the tax burden for individuals and businesses
“The announced reduction in the tax burden for Quebeckers is a first step and sends a positive signal for the years to come. The Chamber calls on the government to commit to using any future surpluses to significantly reduce the tax burden of individuals. The health of our public finances means that strategic choices can be made to ensure Quebec’s long-term tax competitiveness. Given that the U.S. administration has suggested that it will lower corporate taxes, we need to stay vigilant and be ready to respond during the year,” concluded Mr. Leblanc.
About the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM)
With a network of over 7,000 members, the CCMM is active on two fronts: being the voice of the Montréal business community and delivering specialized services to businesses and their representatives. With its finger on the pulse of current events, it acts on issues that are decisive for the prosperity of the city’s businesses. With the support of the Acclr experts, the CCMM’s goal is to accelerate the creation and growth of businesses of all sizes, at home and around the world.
Advisor, Media Relations
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4042
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