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Launch of Greater Montreal’s Vital Signs 2008



Montreal, October 7 2008 – The Foundation of Greater Montreal (FGM) today released its third annual check-up on the health of Greater Montreal entitled Greater Montreal’s Vital Signs 2008. At the same time, sixteen other community foundations across the country issued their local report cards.
Vital Signs presents a statistical outlook on different sectors of community life such as work, the gap between the rich and the poor, learning, health and wellness, housing, getting around, safety, the environment, arts and culture, getting started in the community as well as belonging and leadership. 

“This year’s report provides some pleasant surprises, especially in such areas as the birth rate, employment, education, arts and culture and crime levels, said Kathleen Weil, FGM President and Chief Executive Officer. But it also reminds us that there is still much work to do in a number of areas and that advances are sometimes fragile. Poverty and its effects on children and families continue to challenge us and progress on the environmental front remains slow.” 

Highlights of Greater Montreal’s Vital Signs 2008 include: 

- The population of the Greater Montreal region continues to grow, in large measure due to immigration. A rising birth rate is also a factor, progressing for the third consecutive year and reaching 11.6 births per 1000 residents in 2007. 

- Employment grew significantly in 2007. For the first time in 20 years, Montreal rose above the Canadian average, recording an increase of 2.5% in the number of jobs (vs. 2.3% for Canada as a whole) and was first among large urban areas on the North American eastern seaboard.

- With an unemployment rate in 2006 which was more than three times greater than that of Canadian-born residents, newcomers continue to face difficulties in entering the labour market. In 2005 the family income of immigrants was only $49,257 as against $68,430 for non-immigrants.

- In the area of education, diploma rates have continued to rise over the years, at both the secondary and postsecondary levels. 

- In Greater Montreal, as in other regions, socioeconomic disparities persist. While the number of children living in low-income families declined slightly to 22.1% in 2006, these children accounted for 45% of Moisson Montréal’s clientele. For low-income families – 16.7% of all Montreal families in 2005 – access to affordable housing continues to be a problem. 

- At close to 15%, the obesity rate has been rising in the population as a whole. 

- Residents willingly recycle (91%), but have been slow to adopt measures to conserve energy and water or to give up their cars and switch to public transit.
Criminal behaviours involving Highway Code violations, spousal violence and sexual abuse are on the decline. The rate of hate crimes in the Montreal region for 2007 was lower than the national average, and than the rates in other major Canadian cities. 

- Arts and culture continue to play an important role in the lives of Montrealers. The artistic milieu continues to offer a great diversity of programming and to reach a broad clientele, while at the same time providing an essential learning tool for the young. 

The FGM has innovated in its third edition of Vital Signs by adding a brief survey conducted by the CROP polling firm to seek the views of the people behind the statistics in this annual check-up. “We found it very interesting to be able to establish a parallel between the objective data and the perceptions of the population,” stated Marcel Côté, Vice President of the FGM Board of Directors and President of the Vital Signs Steering Committee. 

Key conclusions of the survey are: 

- More than half of respondents identified poverty, quality of the environment, public transit and the integration of immigrant communities as priority issues; 

- Montrealers are willing to take steps to improve the region’s quality of life, especially when they are given the right tools. Recycling is an excellent example of this. 

Foundation of Greater Montreal
The Foundation of Greater Montreal is a charitable organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of the community. It encourages the establishment of permanent endowment funds and ensures their sound management, then redistributes the income in the form of grants to support organizations across the entire community in a variety of areas, including health, social services, arts and culture, education, and the environment. 

The Foundation of Greater Montreal is a member of Community Foundations of Canada (CFC), an organization that currently includes 164 members across the country, with total assets of $2.7 billion. In 2007, these foundations granted some $176 million in support of local charitable projects. 

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Information
Kathleen Weil, présidente et directrice générale
Fondation du Grand Montréal
Tél. : 514-866-0808 # 101
Courriel : kathleen.weil@fgmtl.org