Setting Up in Montréal


Registering your organization

Depending on your objectives and area of activity, you may choose to register your organization provincially (Québec) or federally (Canada). In both cases, applications can be completed online in a matter of minutes.

You may also declare your organization to be a charitable organization, thus gaining access to a specific taxation environment.

Financing your organization

International organizations establishing in Greater Montréal have access to a wide variety of complementary sources of financing.

  • IOs choosing to set up their headquarters, a regional hub or programmatic office in Montréal could be eligible for financial support through the Montréal International Development Fund (FODIM), managed by Montreal International. To qualify, organizations must meet certain criteria, namely : present a business plan to Montréal International, including 5-year financial projections, commit to create at least five permanent full-time positions in Montréal and demonstrate that they have secured adequate funding (50% of the organization’s revenues must be derived from non-Canadian sources).
  • Provincial and federal government resources (tax credits, subsidies, etc.)
  • Private foundations
  • The general public and businesses, through fundraising and benefit events. This practice is encouraged by Canada’s tax system, which allows taxpayers to deduct a portion of their donations from their taxable income.

Finding premises

Renting an office in Greater Montréal is easier and less expensive than in most major cities in the United States, Europe or elsewhere in Canada. Our IO division can provide advice and support to help identify the most suitable location for your organization.

Total office rental cost ($US/sq. ft./yr., city centre)
City Cost ($ US)
Paris 99.8
Singapore 87.7
London 85.0
Geneva 84.0
New York 64.4
Brussels 35.5
Seoul 28.5
Montréal 26.5

Source: Global Real Estate Markets, Annual Review and Outlook, NGKF, 2012

The city centre offers a wide selection of prestige office buildings and an excellent transportation and communication infrastructure. Rental costs in the Montréal region are particularly competitive—on average one third of equivalent rent in London or Paris.

Montréal’s International Quarter (Quartier international de Montréal) (QIM) also welcomes several organizations. Inaugurated in 2004 by the city’s business district and Old Montréal, QIM offers a contemporary and prestigious work setting and an outstanding living environment, mere steps from the Palais des congrès convention centre.

A number of organizations have chosen to set up directly on university campuses to encourage synergies and limit expenses. Examples include the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (Université de Montréal), the International Political Science Association (Concordia University) and ORBICOM – The International Network of UNESCO Chairs in Communications (Université du Québec à Montréal).


Hiring the best
To ensure their development, organizations establishing operations in Greater Montréal have access to a large pool of qualified workers, a world-class university network, as well as the city’s creative and intellectual climate.

  • 11 universities, including four large general universities (two French-language and two English-language).
  • One of the few cities on the planet that boasts two or more universities that are ranked among the world’s top 200, according to the 2010 QS Academic Ranking of World Universities.
  • The top university city in the country, with more than 170,000 students—plus a further 120,000 college-level students.
  • The second-highest number of university students per capita among the 20 largest metropolitan areas in North America.
  • Canada’s most popular student destination.
  • Home to the largest pool of graduate degree holders in Canada.
  • One in two Montréalers have a university or college diploma.

A win-win financial equation
With the region’s relatively low cost of living and reasonable wages, international organizations can set up their dream team for less, and still offer a high level of purchasing power to their employees.

  • Highly competitive wages compared to other cities in OECD member countries:
City Wage level index
(Montréal = 100) 
Seoul 72
Montréal 100
Paris 103
London 104
Brussels 107
New York 131
Geneva 162

Source: Prices and Earnings, UBS, 2012

  • One of the highest levels of purchasing power in the world
City Purchasing power level index (Montréal=100)
Geneva 124
Brussels 115
Montréal 100
Paris 98
New York 97
London 93
Seoul 80

Source: Prix et Salaires, UBS, 2012. Compilation : Montréal International

A naturally multilingual talent pool

  • The most bilingual metropolitan region in Canada with 51.9% of the population (close to two million people) speaking two languages
  • 20% of the population speaks at least three languages
  • More than 6,000 full-time translators

Top venue for events and conferences

Thanks to the large number of international organizations on its territory, Montréal is the North American city that hosts the largest number of international meetings and conferences, ahead of New York City and Washington, D.C.

Montréal’s lead is cemented by top-notch conference amenities, multipurpose hotel facilities and made-to-measure tourism services.

Two major conference centres:

  • The Palais des Congrès Convention Centre. Located in the heart of the prestigious international quarter with links to 4,000 hotel rooms via the underground pedestrian network, the Palais offers premium facilities and services. The Palais has a total of 113 meeting rooms and spaces over an area of 51,280 m2 and can accommodate 13,000 participants.
  • The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conference centre. The ICAO comprises two vast conference rooms (800 seats and 250 seats) designed specifically to meet the needs of international organizations and meet UN standards.

Strategic and logistical support from Tourisme Montréal
This tourism promotion agency has set up a dedicated team of professionals to help international organizations plan international conferences. The team offers a wide range of services—including scouting for meeting sites and accommodations, lining up financing, as well as designing calls for bids and promotional tools—helping organizations make every event a world-class success.

Affordable business trips
Thanks to reasonably priced hotel accommodations, Montréal is a much more accessible venue than most other major cities in the US and Europe.

Cost of a short stay
City Costs ($ US)
Geneva 1217
New York 1178
Paris 1101
London 932
Seoul 777
Brussels 725
Montréal 712

Source: Prices and Earnings, UBS, 2012.

Find out more:

– Five Good Reasons to Settle in Greater Montréal
– Living in Montréal