Press release: The Foundation of Greater Montreal Presents a Unique Portrait of the Reality of the City’s Children
Montreal, October 3, 2017 — The Foundation of Greater Montreal (FGM) is presenting its Vital SignsTM of Greater Montreal’s Children report to the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal today. This unique publication paints a multi-facetted portrait of the issues central to the lives of children in the metropolitan region. Prepared under the banner of the 2017 celebrations, the report is not only the product of the combined expertise and data of 30 organizations and experts from all sectors, but is also aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 by the 193 member countries of the United Nations.
“Given that the demographic segment made up of the 820,000 youngsters under the age of 18 in Greater Montreal is the largest across Quebec, the FGM chose to dedicate this special edition of Vital SignsTM to the younger generation” underlines Yvan Gauthier, President and CEO of the Foundation of Greater Montreal. “But most of all, we chose this segment because young people represent the future of our community, and this exercise has enabled us to identify the principal issues confronting our youth.”
Hunger: A Major Issue in Montreal
In Montreal, 11% of households are challenged by food insecurity — meaning the quality or quantity of the food they consume is inadequate. In fact, close to 35,000 children under the age of 18 rely on the Moisson Montreal, Moisson Laval or Moisson South Shore food banks each month. This percentage is higher than that observed in Quebec and Canada. Furthermore, 46% of Montreal high school students do not have breakfast before going to class, as compared to 38% across Quebec. According to UNICEF, Canada ranks 37th of 41 developed countries with respect to the problem of hunger.
A High Rate of Violence Directed at Children
The rate of domestic violence within the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Montreal is higher than in other metropolitan regions of Canada. In fact, the census metropolitan areas of Saint John in New Brunswick, and of Saguenay, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières and Gatineau are the only areas in Canada posting domestic violence rates higher than Montreal.
An Accessible and Inclusive Education Network
Fortunately, in addition to accessible daycare services, children in the Greater Montreal region presently have access to inclusive and quality education at the preschool, primary and secondary levels alike. With respect to student retention, the high school graduation rate is improving — 61% after five years, but 80% after seven years. “The good news is that numerous dropouts are dropping back in,” explains the FGM’s Yvan Gauthier.
A Significant but Attenuated Poverty Situation
Poverty remains clearly present in Montreal, with the city being home to the largest number of low-income districts in Canada. On the other hand, taxation and social transfers have resulted in the percentage of Montreal’s young people under the age of 18 living in low-income situations decline from 22% to 16%.
Favourable Living Environment
“On a positive note, our young people are growing up in living environments that are healthy in many respects,” Mr. Gauthier points out. Between 1990 and 2013, Montreal’s air quality has improved.Furthermore, over 90% of children in Montreal and Laval reside less than one kilometre from a park or green space. For their part, Montreal schools stand out for their proximity to bicycle paths and the city for its pedestrian-friendliness.
A Village for Our Children
“The Vital SignsTM report does not offer an analysis of these observations, but has been published for the purposes of stimulating discussion. A number of organizations have already announced important initiatives that will hopefully give rise to more innovative projects to promote the well-being of youth in Greater Montreal. The Vital SignsTM report outlines a multidimensional reality calling for the implementation of plural strategies and actions that, most notably, include our young people in a vision of sustainable development,” concludes Yvan Gauthier.
A Report Aligned with the UNICEF Report Card
The Vital SignsTM report is in line with a pan-Canadian initiative coordinated by Community Foundations of Canada. Vital SignsTM of Greater Montreal Children 2017 is based on the structure of the Report Card 14 published by UNICEF. In its report, UNICEF ranks Canada 25th among 41 developed countries with respect to the well-being of children and young people. The country ranked 12th in 2007.
About the Foundation of Greater Montreal
The Foundation of Greater Montreal has implemented a collective philanthropy model based on the creation of funds and turnkey foundations for individuals, organizations and corporations in Greater Montreal. With more than 500 funds in place, the FGM offers advice and assistance to fund creators to support their engagement in the community. Since its establishment in 1999, the FGM has become a philanthropic hub, while serving as an important investment lever to promote the success of sustainable projects and initiatives within all sectors of society.
Foundation of Greater Montreal
Director of Communications
514.866-0808, ext. 109