Record foreign investment in Montreal despite language fears

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Investments record foreigners in Montreal despite language fears

The announcement in April of the establishment of the Moderna vaccine plant is one of the major investments.

So far, the language debate in Quebec does not seem to have harmed the attractiveness of Montreal, as several influential business figures feared.

The value of foreign investment in Montreal reached a record $1.7 billion in the first six months of the year, according to preliminary data from Montreal International. This follows a record year 2021 when investments peaked at $3.7 billion.

It demonstrates the extreme resilience of the Montreal economy compared to the pandemic, but also in relation to the post-pandemic situation, says Alexandre Lagarde of Montreal International.

“We have an economy that is very diversified with high-tech sectors, like life sciences, computer sciences, aerospace, some of which have been quite impervious to the crisis. »

— Alexandre Lagarde, Vice President, Foreign Investments at Montreal International

In total, a record number of 57 projects were achieved for the period January to June 2022. This compares to the previous record of 40 projects achieved for the same period last year.

The life sciences sector particularly stood out this year with seven projects worth $321 million. The announcement in April of the establishment of Moderna's vaccine factory is among the milestones. By comparison, this industry generated projects worth $280 million for the full year of 2021.

With economic clouds looming on the horizon in the wake of rising interest rates, soaring inflation and health restrictions in China, the metropolis may well fall short of break a new record for the whole of 2022, recognizes Mr. Lagarde. Of course, there are elements that may lead to think that there could be a risk of recession, but for the moment the flow of projects is still doing quite well. .

The diversification of the Montreal economy means that all sectors of the economy will not necessarily move in the same direction, explains Mr. Lagarde. While the tech sector was resilient during the height of the pandemic, aerospace suffered from the collapse in demand for air travel. The industry, however, is enjoying a strong recovery.

The attractiveness of the metropolis is evident despite the linguistic debate which irritates influential voices in the business community.

In June, some forty business leaders, mainly from the technology sector, sent a letter to Prime Minister François Legault to warn him that Bill 96, passed in May, could create enormous damage to the economy.

Companies had also expressed their questions to Montreal International last year during the presentation of the bill on the French language. The organization had then offered information sessions with the help of a law firm that had analyzed the project.

The adoption of Bill 96, last May, raised a new round of questions from the partners of Montreal International, says Mr. Lagarde.

To answer these questions, Montreal International organized a series of meetings between business leaders and representatives of the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) to explain the scope of the law. The first meeting took place last week. I would tell you that what stands out is that it reassures business leaders quite a bit.

During his almost 17-year career at Montreal International , Mr. Lagarde says he observes that the vast majority of international multinationals respect the language legislation in Quebec.

The French fact should not be seen as an obstacle to #x27;Quebec economy, thinks the vice-president. We see it as a strength. This is one of the advantages of doing business in Montreal. The second largest investor in Montreal, "after the United States", is France. It is certain that the linguistic aspect plays a role in the attractiveness of Montreal for French investments.

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