The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal welcomes the decision of the Quebec government to move forward with the construction of Montreal's two university hospital centers
Montreal, July 21, 2003- On behalf of its some 7,000 members, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal expresses its satisfaction with the action plan tabled today by Philippe Couillard, Minister of Health and Social Services, for the construction of Montreal's two university hospital centers, affiliated with the faculties of medicine of Université de Montréal (CHUM) and McGill University (MUHC). 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.
Despite the current budget situation, but taking into account the difficult conditions facing Quebec's health-care system, it was vital that the government quickly announce its intentions regarding the future of Montreal's university hospital centers. We are delighted with the announcement made today by Mr. Couillard. The construction of the two UHCs represents a strategic catalyzing investment that the Board of Trade estimates will generate an input of $3.5 billion for Quebec's economy, primarily in Greater Montreal. Their construction will also have a positive impact on the development and retention of Montreal and Quebec expertise in teaching, research, and delivering state-of-the-art medical care all key components in the competitiveness of metropolitan Montreal and Quebec, declared Benoit Labonté, president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. The construction of the two UHCs could also generate additional investments, such as the anticipated private investment of $100 million planned by the Shriners for their new hospital.
The Board of Trade also appreciates the clarity of the conditions set forth by Mr. Couillard for both UHCs. In doing so, the government is taking measures to insure that construction of the two hospital centers begin at the same time, turning them de facto into a single project. Insofar as it does not hinder the competitiveness of Montreal and Quebec in the health-care sector, the Board of Trade also supports this pragmatic approach and believes this will ensure that neither project has a negative impact on the other, particularly in terms of attracting strategic workers, students, and researchers in this field, added Labonté.
The Board of Trade hopes that, following this initial step, upcoming decisions will quickly lead to concrete actions, without of course compromising the rigour, the financial realism, and the need for monitoring that are critical to the success of a project of this scope. To gain and benefit from the support of the public and the business community, administrators of the two university hospital centers and the government must demonstrate exemplary transparency throughout the process of implementing these major investments, stressed Labonté. The Board of Trade also hopes that, when making the final choice of location for the two UHC's, the minister will bear in mind their potentially positive impact on revitalization and urban development.
Finally, the Board of Trade notes that Montreal is the only Canadian city with two faculties of medicine and boasts the highest concentration of medical research in the country. And it is no coincidence that Montreal is home to the highest per capita investment in pharmaceutical research in Canada. This undeniable comparative advantage must be not only maintained but also strengthened. The construction of the CHUM and the MUHC will meet this requirement and help position Montreal among the most dynamic and innovative cities in the world in the fields of science and health care, thus helping to secure its place as a destination of choice for both private investment in this sector and high-quality teachers, researchers, and students, concluded Labonté.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has nearly 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the leading group representing the interests of the Greater Montreal business community. Its objectives are to maintain, at all times, relevance to its membership, credibility towards the public and influence towards government and decision-makers. The Board of Trade relies on its three service branches - Info entreprises, the Electronic Commerce Institute, and the World Trade Centre Montréal - to offer specialized services to the greater business community.
Coordinator, Media relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: (514) 871-4000, ext. 4015