1. A Dynamic Labour Market
With an employment growth rate of 3.2% from 2008 to 2012, Greater Montréal is the fifth most dynamic region from among the 20 main urban agglomerations in North America. Greater Montréal has been relatively unaffected by the world economic downturn over the last few years, and is continuing its development by focusing on high technology and the creative fields.
On the labour market, this vitality is reflected in considerable inter-company mobility, the creation of many new jobs, and opportunities for rapid advancement at all levels.
2. High Purchasing Power
Montréalers enjoy a purchasing power that is among the highest in the world as a result of the low cost of living. This is true for housing, which is twice as affordable than in other international cities in North America and Europe. It is also true for health care, education, and day-to-day expenses (e.g. food, clothing).
The dream of buying a house is a reality!
Greater Montréal is the top-ranked major Canadian city in terms of competitive housing costs.
Cost of Living – Comparative Table (Major North American Cities)
Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit
3. Unparalleled Quality of Life
The Great Outdoors
Living in Greater Montréal means living green, even in winter! Greater Montréal has a network of 17 large parks for a total of close to 2,000 hectares and 1,160 neighbourhood parks, including about 100 in the downtown core, providing leisure and recreational areas for the whole family. It is not unusual to see cyclists in business attire and skiers on the trails of Mount Royal Park, located just a few steps from office towers.
Also, several ski hills and resorts are located less than an hour’s drive from downtown Montréal, which provides Montréalers with easy access to skiing and snowboarding, fishing, swimming, canoeing and kayaking on the area’s many lakes and rivers.
Quality Public Services
International workers in Montréal enjoy the same fringe benefits as Canadian citizens, including:
- Québec health insurance: Under the principle of universal health care, both Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Québec benefit from free basic medical care.
- The Québec prescription drug plan, which covers 70% of the cost of basic prescription drugs for those without access to a private plan provided by the employer.
- Education: High-quality public education is free from kindergarten to college for Québec residents as well as for the children of foreign workers with a work permit. Greater Montréal also has four high-calibre universities where tuition fees are among the lowest in North America. Last but not least, a number of educational institutions offer a French-language program that prepares students for a bachelor’s degree.
- Employment insurance, which allows temporary workers to receive unemployment benefits for the term of their work permit.
- The Québec Parental Insurance Plan, which pays benefits to all eligible workers on maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave. Under the plan, the father and mother of a newborn are entitled to combined parental leave of up to 55 weeks.
- Daycare services that are among the most affordable in North America: Childcare services with reduced-contribution spaces for children aged 0 to 5. These spaces at $7 per child per day are available at early childhood centres (Centres de la petite enfance (CPE)), subsidized daycare centres, and licensed home child care providers.
Note: Individuals participating in the Working Holiday Visa (WHV) program are not entitled to the above coverage and must obtain valid health, hospitalization and repatriation insurance for the duration of their stay.
Efficient Mass Transit System
- A subway system with 70 kilometres of lines and 68 stations covering a large part of the Island of Montréal.
- A well-coordinated network of buses between the area’s arious neighbourhoods and municipalities.
- Commuter rail lines that serve towns further away to the north and south of Montréal.
- BIXI, a public bicycle sharing system, with 400 stations and 5,000 bicycles. For a minimal cost, users can rent a bicycle at one station, travel with it, and return it to any other station on the network. A symbol of Montréal resourcefulness and very popular with residents, the BIXI system has now been implemented on three continents, in the cities of London, Boston, Washington, Melbourne and Minneapolis.
An Environmentally Friendly Public Transit System
With 427 million trips per year, mass transit contributes to the sustainable development of Greater Montréal.
A Vibrant Cultural Life
The all-encompassing curiosity of Montréalers, cultural mix and large concentration of artists make Greater Montréal a prime cultural destination, a lively arts scene and creative laboratory from where ideas and projects are exported to every corner of the world. Examples include the success of Cirque du Soleil and Moment Factory, two Montréal companies renowned worldwide for their daring and success.
In summer as in winter, theatre, film, music, literature and art lovers have a myriad of choices to indulge their passion.
- More than 120 festivals each year, including the Montréal International Jazz Festival, considered the greatest jazz fest in the world, with 400 concerts (300 of which are free and held outdoors) and 1.5 million spectators; the Just for Laughs Festival, which attracts just as many spectators and features close to 2,000 artists each year; the FrancoFolies, with its 250 concerts (including 180 outdoor concerts), proof that French song is alive and well.
- A network of 38 museums in art, history, crafts, science and nature, including the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, which has over 35,000 works of art and mounts popular themed exhibits throughout the year; the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, which features a varied program around its permanent collection of 7,000 works and temporary exhibits by Québec, Canadian and international artists; the Montréal Biodôme, which has replicated the fauna and flora of some of the most beautiful ecosystems on the plant; The Montréal Botanical Garden, considered one of the largest in the world, with 22,000 species of plants, 10 exhibition greenhouses and about 30 themed gardens; and The Montréal Science Centre, a true experimental laboratory for the entire family.
- High-level cuisine that is reflected in original, ethnically diverse and creative dining options. Food & Wine and Gourmet magazines have both hailed Montréal as one of the major gastronomic capitals of the world. Quite a tribute—and quite an experience! In addition to the upscale establishments headed by young bold chefs, Greater Montréal abounds with restaurants waiting to be discovered, covering the gamut from chic and classic establishments to neighbourhood restaurants, post-modern hotspots, and ethnic eateries offering novel dining experiences.
4. The Openness of a Multicultural City
Montréal today is a cultural mosaic that provides an urban environment and openness that are unique in North America. Its social fabric, a combination of European and North American influences, has grown richer over time with a substantial number of newcomers: close to one-third of Montréal’s population was born outside of Canada.
Each culture that is represented has its own heritage, enabling all residents to enjoy a diverse range of savoir-faire, products and cuisine, or simply satisfy a desire to experience a different world by walking around in Chinatown, Little Italy, Little Maghreb and many other ethnic neighbourhoods. This richness also provides homesick expatriates an opportunity to renew ties with their culture of origin.
5. A Safe Environment
Greater Montréal is a safe place where residents can go about their business with peace of mind. Contrary to many North American cities, public areas and downtown Montréal are lively both day and night, and are safe to visit. The crime rate, already low for a major city like Montréal, has been steadily decreasing since 1990. Also, according to Statistics Canada and the FBI, the Montréal’s homicide rate is the lowest among large North American cities.