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Foreign investments in Montreal drop by almost 25%, report finds

Click to play video: 'Montréal International reports drop in foreign investment, blames inflation'
Montréal International reports drop in foreign investment, blames inflation
WATCH: Montreal's Economic development promoter is reporting a drop in foreign investments. Montreal International says investments dropped by a quarter last year from the year before. The organization is blaming inflation and rising interest rates. Global's Amanda Jelowicki reports. – Feb 26, 2024

Montreal International is reporting a dramatic drop in foreign investments in the Greater Montreal area last year compared to the two previous years.

The non-profit organization reported $2.7 billion in foreign investments in the area in 2023, with 87 projects realized. That’s down from $3.5 billion in 2022 and $3.7 billion in 2021 — a drop of almost 25 per cent.

The organization tried putting a positive spin on its foreign investment yields for last year, saying its proud of its results.

“It’s back to pre-pandemic levels. It’s also our third best year ever we have seen at Montreal International,” said Stephane Paquet, the president of Montreal International.

But the non-profit organization admits its numbers are a steep decline from the previous two years. Paquet blames inflation, rising interest rates and a recession in several G7 countries.

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“Those same companies that were investing massively during the pandemic…the trend is not the same as it was during the pandemic, so that is one factor,” he said.

The investments Montreal did get were in the environmental technologies sectors, life sciences, cybersecurity, audio visual and video games, and aerospace, among others.

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The United States accounted for 26 per cent of its 2023 investments; France was second with 23 per cent.

$2 billion was concentrated in Montreal; the other investments went to Longeuil and the south shore area, Laval and the north shore area. The investments created almost 6,000 jobs, with an average salary of about $97,000.

The opposition at Montreal city hall says it was disappointed with the results. Opposition leader Aref Salem says Valerie Plante’s administration needs to do more to attract foreign investors.

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“She should be really concerned about this drop,” said Salem. “I think the mayor should question herself, her administration. What is going wrong right now and what she should do to make sure Montreal is still attractive? Why aren’t these foreigners coming? Is it a lack of opportunity? She should make sure the city stays attractive.”

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The drop in foreign investments comes against the backdrop of bitter language battles over Bill 96 simmering in Quebec, which critics say could repel foreigners.

Most recently, McGill and Concordia Universities announced they are suing the government over controversial tuition hikes.

Montreal’s mayor she’d like to see unity between the governments and universities.

“I want the universities working with the government to come up with a solution so we can be on the same page,” Plante said. “What I want is for people outside of Montreal and elsewhere in the world to say, ‘Wow, things are good in Montreal and Quebec, we work together.’ And this is what I am hoping for.

“Whatever needs to be done by the universities or the government, the message has to be the same: that we are a welcoming, inclusive city.”

Click to play video: 'McGill, Concordia universities launch legal action against Quebec over tuition hikes'
McGill, Concordia universities launch legal action against Quebec over tuition hikes

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