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Despite a global slowdown, Greater Montréal maintains its economic appeal

Year 2022 was eventful and volatile for the global economic environment. Despite everything, Greater Montréal has been able to leverage its power to attract foreign investors, foreign talent and international organizations.  

February 20, 2023

That’s the first observation Montréal International (MI) made as it announced its 2022 results with many guests and dignitaries in attendance, including the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Political Lieutenant of Québec, Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region, Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal and Chair of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM), Catherine Fournier, Mayor of Longueuil, Stéphane Boyer, Mayor of Laval and Doreen Assaad, Mayor of Brossard and President of the Economic Development, Finance and Employment Commission of the CMM. 

Greater Montréal’s economic development agency supported 102 foreign investment projects—a record—worth $3.581 billion, resulting in the creation of 8,287 jobs with an average annual salary of over $88,000 (1.5 times the average salary of a Montrealer). More than a thousand foreign workers were recruited or were assisted in their immigration process while the international organization team spearheaded four major projects. 

Foreign investment: 4 key findings 

First, the life sciences and health technology sector broke a record with 12 projects worth $684.87 million, a 143.76% jump compared to 2021. In addition to Moderna, Greater Montréal was able to bring in foreign companies that want to exploit its cutting-edge AI ecosystem to develop new health solutions. 

Next, was a record 21 projects, worth $755 million, that opted to set up shop off the Island of Montréal, either in Laval, Longueuil or the northern/southern suburbs. It’s also worth noting that more than a third of all the projects MI supported in 2022 were from companies that stood out owing to their corporate social and environmental responsibility practices. 

Moreover, a little over 50% of investments came from the Americas, while France, Switzerland and the rest of Europe and the Middle East account for 42% of investments. Basically, one new business had set up in Greater Montréal every week. 

International recruitment: record participation 

A record 182 local employers used MI’s recruiting service this past year by taking part in one or several of its nine initiatives, including a first-ever in-person mission, in Paris, since the start of the pandemic. 

The site, launched in the middle of the pandemic, continues to gain popularity, with more than 145,000 skilled workers registered and ready to work in Greater Montréal, including 85,000 new registrations in 2022 alone. 

These efforts resulted in 629 skilled workers being hired in highly strategic industries such as IT, and health and education services. In addition, foreign talent was supported in their immigration process and international students were recruited by local employers, bringing the total, including spouses, to 1,340 foreign talent supported by MI in 2022. 

Note that MI also referred nearly 7,200 international students interested in studying in Greater Montréal to local educational institutions, through its site. 

International organizations: Montréal’s strong suit 

Once again, sustainable development and civil aviation were the primary focuses of the international organization team. They supported two key projects, i.e., establishing the World Climate Research Program office hosted by Ouranos and the Airports Council International expansion project in the city. Additionally, agreements were renewed with the International Air Transport Association and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics to keep them in Montréal. 

MI also used the opportunity of COP15 in Montréal to announce the arrival of a new United Nations office in Montréal—UN-Habitat. 


“Montréal International is a formidable ally for 82 municipalities in Greater Montréal, especially in the context of an economic slowdown and global uncertainty. We can count on an agile, bold team that constantly adjusts its strategies and targeted industries and geographic locations. The team is supported by a solid network of partners, both private and public, and a board of directors that is engaged in seeking out more positive spinoffs for Québec as a whole.” 

  • Jean Laurin, Chair of the Board of Directors, Montréal International. 

“We should seize all the opportunities around the world to transform our economy and make it greener and more sustainable. That’s why we’re focusing on projects that generate value for Greater Montréal, by supporting decarbonization or industrial automation for example, or by supporting the hiring of workers in key sectors such as health, education and IT. If you do the math quickly, we support an average of one new business and 18 skilled workers per week, which is no small feat…” 

  • Stéphane Paquet, President and CEO of Montréal International 

“By focusing on projects in our strategic sectors, Montréal International will be able to continue to attract initiatives that create wealth for the city and for all of Québec. Our energy is less abundant than it was. This is changing our approach to investment prospecting.”  

  • Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region 

“When everyone pulls together, it usually produces good results. Montréal International is a great example: by working with the entire Greater Montréal ecosystem, the organization is able to attract foreign investment and international organizations to the region, year after year. Congratulations to the entire team.” 

  • The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Member of Parliament for Honoré-Mercier, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Quebec Lieutenant 

“The projects selected for the agglomeration of Longueuil total more than $150 million in investments in several cutting-edge sectors, including aerospace, artificial intelligence and data analysis. This amount testifies to the attractiveness and dynamism of our agglomeration. More and more foreign investors are turning to the Longueuil agglomeration, noting the many assets and exceptional opportunities for setting up business in our territory. I would like to salute the contribution of Montréal International which, in its report for the year 2022, presents a record number of projects registered outside of Montréal.”  

  • Catherine Fournier, Mayor of the City of Longueuil.

“Every year, Laval stands out for its economic dynamism, as evidenced by the significant foreign investments. Despite the global situation, the cooperation and concerted efforts of Greater Montréal’s players allow us to remain a unique economic hub. I am proud to add my voice to that of my colleagues in highlighting the appeal of our region.” 

  • Stéphane Boyer, Mayor of the City of Laval