CBC News Montreal took a two-part look at Montreal's economy this week. Here are four suggestions from experts we consulted about how to help businesses and create jobs.
Carlo de Luca, owner, Station 16 Gallery:
"If we take an approach where we look at ourselves and our city the way others see us, the mindset would change. If you're outside of Quebec or Montreal and you speak to people outside of our province or our city, they look at us as a culturally vibrant city, diversified, full of energy, a place where you can have arts and restaurants and it's a great city to live in with that little French flare — it's awesome. Then you look at our city and you ask Montrealers 'What do you think of Montreal?' and they say we're stagnant, and we have that language issue sometimes, and we're a little bit flat. If we took the same approach as people from outside the province and really believed that we are that diversified culturally, then we would invest in our own city."
Brett House, Senior Fellow, Jeanne Sauvé Foundation:
"I think one of the key things we need to look at is the way we integrate immigrants. The unemployment rate here generally is around 8.3 per cent. For recent immigrants it's over 11 per cent. Contrast that with Toronto, where there's only a one percentage point gap between well-established populations and new immigrant populations. Toronto is doing something more effectively to integrate new immigrants than we're doing here, and I think that's going to be one of the key things to get unemployment down, and activity up."
Michel Leblanc, President and CEO, Montreal Board of Trade:
"We have to make sure that red tape is being reduced, taxation is improved and simplified, and lower the rates for small businesses. From a city perspective, we have to look into what are the strong commercial streets across the world and what can we learn from them."
Martine Hebert, Senior VP, Canadian Federation of Independent Business:
"I think one big measure would be about all of these regulations and policies that we have. In different boroughs in Montreal you're going to have different regulations. In some boroughs the borough is even regulating the plants that you can put on your terrace. This is ridiculous. I'm not saying we don't need regulations in a city because you have to protect the urban planning and everything, but I think there's too much regulation."