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Report of the task force on Montréal’s issues of governance and taxation: bold solutions to improve the city’s operations

Press release

Report of the task force on Montréal’s issues of governance and taxation:
bold solutions to improve the city’s operations

Montréal, March 31, 2010 – Today the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal released to the business community the report of the task force on Montréal’s issues of governance and taxation, co-chaired by Marcel Côté and Claude Séguin. As part of the same effort, it committed to working with partners to help implement the report’s recommendations.

The report features 33 recommendations on the governance of the City of Montréal, ties between the city and the Government of Quebec, municipal taxation, financing public transportation and organizing economic development.

“Montréal is a dynamic city with unique assets, but its overall economic performance has not lived up to our ambitions,” said the Board of Trade’s President and CEO, Michel Leblanc. “So it was important to try to understand what needs to improve to help the city develop in a way that lives up to and keeps pace with our aspirations. This was the Board of Trade’s purpose in forming the task force last September.”

The task force on Montréal’s issues of governance and taxation was made up of co-chairs Marcel Côté and Claude Séguin, as well as Diane Wilhelmy, André Boisclair, André Delisle and Gilles Godbout.

“In issuing a mandate to this group of experts, the Board of Trade wanted to ensure an objective, rigorous and non-partisan analysis of the city’s situation,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Given the work done in the past six months and the report’s bold recommendations, clearly we made the right choice. The report proposes a series of well-considered measures to make Montréal more dynamic and successful.”

“The proposed changes are exacting,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Determination is what’s needed to create a city worthy of our ambitions. Most importantly, we need to support our elected officials who will have the courage to make tough choices, support that the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is committing to today.”

The report’s recommendations cover a number of areas, some of them priority issues for the future of the city:

Approval of major economic development projects
Montréal needs to simplify the approval process for major economic development projects. The City needs to strengthen its internal capacities and support services for developers. As well, the public consultation process for major projects needs to be reviewed so that certain phases occur earlier on in the project development process.

Creation of a Secretariat for the metropolitan region
The Government of Quebec needs to reinforce its authorities and be better equipped to support the city’s development. It needs to put in place a committee of ministers concerned with Montréal’s development and create a Secretariat that, like the Bureau de la Capitale-Nationale, facilitates coordinating activities of departments involved in city projects.

Consolidation of economic development organizations
The city’s economic development rests on a fragmentation of public and quasi public agencies with similar missions that act locally. This inevitably leads to duplicated efforts and reduced efficiency. Elected officials have to make choices to consolidate agencies and their budgets.

Municipal taxation and financing public transportation
We need to make massive investments in public transportation in the coming years. Montréal and surrounding cities obviously need to look at rationalizing expenses before considering developing new taxes. But elected officials also need to look at other tax instruments specifically to finance major infrastructure and public transportation projects.

Putting in place a Council of leaders
Montréal needs a strong regional committee that brings together major players from the business world and other community leaders to better support region-wide actions. This would be a strong voice to represent Montréal to external actors and government decision-makers.

Read the complete report and its 33 recommendations at this link (in French only):
The English summary is available at this link:            

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.

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Sylvie Paquette
Coordinator, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514-871-4000, ext. 4015


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