As the city where WSP has its headquarters, Montréal holds a special place in our hearts. Located in Québec, Canada’s largest province, the city is a safe, cosmopolitan and green metropolis with a rich, multicultural fabric and a thriving economy. It is an important center of commerce, education, aerospace, transport, finance, education, arts, culture, tourism, food and fashion and, increasingly, the high-tech, life sciences and creative sectors.

Despite its relatively small population compared with global giants, Montréal is the most urbanized and densely populated area of Québec. It is known for its quality of life, openness, cosmopolitan vitality and architectural character — a contrast between old and new. Eighty-two municipalities make up Montréal and housing costs are quite competitive. Low interest rates, high disposable incomes and municipal incentives have made home ownership more affordable.

Economically, the city is prospering, as is evident from all the cranes on the skyline and other developments in full swing. GDP and employment are on the rise. The government is investing considerably in infrastructure, education and healthcare to improve quality of life. Montréal is also replacing aging infrastructure, maintaining and rehabilitating the road network while developing the Bus Rapid Transit and extending the metro’s blue line. All of this is helping the economic growth of the city, fostering labor development, enabling resident mobility and creating favorable conditions for innovation.

In addition, foreign investment in Montréal reached CAD2 billion in 2017. Talent is widely recognized as the city’s new oil alongside a strong economy, great education system and political stability.

In June 2018, the ambitious Montréal Resilient City Strategy was unveiled. It showcases the city’s goal to improve its ability to anticipate, prevent and adapt to challenges, in preparing for the stresses and one-off time shocks that might affect the population. Montréal is the first Canadian city to publish a resilience strategy.

With a firm focus on the future, the city has a robust blueprint for increasing mobility and accessibility, expanding the percentage of protected areas, creating more commercial and residential spaces in areas close to transport zones, and supporting social development housing.

Can Montréal climb to the top of the world-leading cities chart?

PLACES

Score: 7.0/10
HOUSING

HOUSING

Score: 6.5/10

Montréal has a big student population and people from all over the world are attracted by its European-flavored urban design. This city has one of the best transport systems in Canada. The authorities are looking long-term at improving many aspects of the metropolis, such as housing for every level of income.

By 2031 Greater Montréal is forecast to gain 320,000 new households, 40 per cent of them in Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) areas, to accommodate 530,000 new residents. Most of the growth will come from people aged over 65. According to the Institute of Statistics Québec, 22 per cent of people in Greater Montréal will be 65 or older by 2031, compared with 15 per cent in 2013.

The Metropolitan Land Use and Development Plan (PMAD) envisages social and affordable housing projects playing a key role in Greater Montréal by 2013 because they ensure social diversity. In addition, the PMAD lists 32 transit corridors in which the TOD social housing component could be lifted from 40 per cent to as high as 60 per cent.

PUBLIC REALM

PUBLIC REALM

Score: 8.3/10

PMAD discusses enhancing pedestrian safety through improved street configuration and protection from vehicular and bike traffic, and by creating and maintaining sidewalks during seasons. It outlines the importance of protecting riverbanks, shorelines and flood plains, in addition to creating vibrant public spaces. The Old Port Masterplan was developed to address the revitalization of the waterfront in the area.

In the Masterplan of the City of Montréal, the creation of vibrant public spaces and the enhancement of existing ones and pedestrian-friendly streetscape designs are part of improving the public realm. The plan also embraces the revitalization of the waterfront and discusses inter-governmental collaboration to enhance the blue network of Montréal and the Montréal Archipelago as a place for people.

URBAN GREEN SPACE

URBAN GREEN SPACE

Score: 8.0/10

The PMAD outlines regulations that are conducive to greening, such as alleyways, green roofs and urban agriculture. The plan encourages the planting of trees and flowers as part of sustainable streetscape design, and emphasizes the creation of new parks that support urban biodiversity. The enhancement of the Green and Blue Network was identified as one of its goals to ensure the connection of green spaces and regional parks in Greater Montréal. The PMAD also calls for the protection of the environment and emphasizes urban biodiversity as an indicator of good quality urban life.

The Master Plan focuses on enhancing Mount Royal and the unique character of urban landscapes. In addition, it encourages the preservation and enhancement of the green network of the city and its urban forest, which includes hundreds of regional and urban parks. The Design Guide for Sustainable Streets emphasizes urban canopy and vegetation as part of sustainable and transit-supportive streetscapes to enhance the public realm. A Sustainability Plan for Montréal 2016-2020 and the Policies for the Protection and Enhancement of Environmental Areas were developed to create policies for the conservation of natural heritage.

SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE

SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Score: 7.0/10

The Québec Government has committed CAD8 billion from 2017 to 2027 to maintain and renovate schools in the province. A sum of CAD287m will go to Montréal’s five school boards to fund the 414 projects the region has planned for the next 10 years. The funding split is: Commission scolaire de Montréal, CAD191 million; Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys, CAD44 million; Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l ’Ile, CAD23 million; Lester B. Pearson School Board, CAD16 million; and English Montréal School Board, CAD12.5 million.

Other needs addressed in the plan include:

  • Managing obesity rates: CAD3 million in funding allocated to increase physical education infrastructure and teachers in the province
  • Promoting equality: The plan has a focus on providing equal opportunities for children in disadvantaged and vulnerable environments
  • Preparing students for a digital future: CAD400 million has been allocated in conjunction with the Digital Action Plan for Education and Higher Education to help young students and adults gain digital skills
  • Increasing support for students with additional needs: Funding has been provided to hire an extra 7,700 professionals, including remedial teachers and speech language pathologists, to support elementary and secondary education.

Québec has allocated CAD6.7 billion for higher education infrastructure from 2018 to 2028, including upgrades of the construction of infrastructure, replacement of dilapidated furnishings and equipment, and the addition of classes to accommodate the need for more spaces. Nearly CAD200 million has been committed to increase and improve digital infrastructure in conjunction with the Digital Action Plan for Education and Higher Education.

In Montréal, CAD145 million has been allocated to add classrooms and other buildings to accommodate new students in vocational colleges and universities. Québec has allocated CAD8 billion for building new or improving existing health care infrastructure across the province. A total of CAD6.3 billion is being provided for the replacement of existing infrastructure, including CAD4.1 billion for specialized furniture and medical equipment. Lastly, CAD3.1 billion has been earmarked for renovation of existing infrastructures.

The focus for this initiative is the construction, expansion and modernization of hospitals. A major project in Montréal is the building of the new Center Hospitalier de l’Universite de Montréal — a hospital complex in the heart of the city.

Montréal and Québec are focused on providing better access to family doctors, specialists and preventative health care. In the past two years, government planning and funding has resulted in the reduction of diagnostic surgery waiting times, enhanced home and residential care for seniors, and provided access to a family doctor for almost 1.1 million people in the province. To enable this, 1,300 nurses have been hired for long-term care centers and 31 clinics that operate seven days a week have been opened.

In the next two years, the government has allocated CAD1.295 billion to improve access to healthcare, CAD164 million to improve health prevention programs and CAD378 million to improve healthcare for seniors.

A growing concern is a lack of mental health support and care. Québec has addressed concerns about these issues with a five-year action plan. Other efforts include the Autism Spectrum Disorder Action Plan, and the introduction of a new government health prevention policy.

Québec has attempted to make childcare more accessible to lower-income families through a refundable tax credit. This tax credit compensates families for part of their expenses at a rate that corresponds to the yearly family income, starting at 26 per cent for higher income families and rising to 75 per cent for the lowest. Despite this, the increasing costs of childcare inhibit many families. No plans have been announced for the expansion of childcare facilities or the hiring of more childcare employees.

The Government of Québec offers support to cultural infrastructure development projects throughout the province and Montréal gives CAD42.4 million a year to cultural institutions. On top of this is support for several projects to expand, renovate or build new cultural assets in Montréal such as:

  • CAD37.7 million support for the expansion of Montréal’s Musee d’Art Contemporain, on which construction is about to begin
  • CAD2.8 million allocation for the renovation of Bibliotheque et Archives Nationals du Québec
  • The Ville de Montréal’s library renovation, expansion and construction program, which has been allocated CAD24.5 million to renovate L’Octogone Library.
CLIMATE CHANGE

CLIMATE CHANGE

Score: 5.0/10

The Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the Montréal Urban Agglomeration 2015-2020 recognizes the effects that climate change will have on the city and outlines objectives for climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience. This plan also identifies built environment, municipal operations and the socio-economic effects that might arise because of climate change. A broader resilience strategy to manage these problems is not detailed. An attractive, competitive and sustainable greater Montréal focuses on land use and quality of life, transportation and the environment in response to climate change.

Sustainable Montréal 2016-2020 has set Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission reduction targets of 30 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels of GHG emissions. To meet this goal, Montréal plans to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

Mobility

MOBILITY

Score: 6.9/10
INFRASTRUCTURE: PUBLIC TRANSIT

INFRASTRUCTURE: PUBLIC TRANSIT

Score: 7.3/10

In 2015, Transports Québec announced a reform of metropolitan public transit governance. The number of public transit organizations was cut from 16 to five in a simplification of organizational structures.

The Société de Transport of Montréal (STM), the entity responsible for public transit in Montréal, has published its 2025 strategic organizational plan. This plan aims to improve the efficiency of metro and bus service in areas affected by construction sites, to revise bus network routes and increase its fleet, to make the network more accessible with an adapted service, and to group under the same platform the purchase of tickets of the various mobility services.

Developmental transit projects are also under way, such as the heavy infrastructure project of the Réseau Express Métropolitain, a 67 kilometer automated light rail system that connects the North Shore, the South Shore, the West Island and the Montréal-Trudeau Airport.

In 2008, Montréal adopted a 10-year transport plan, presenting the 21 main strategies that it wanted to realize simultaneously. However, this transport plan has become obsolete and it is time for the City of Montréal to present a new one.

About a year ago, Montréal's first mobility hub was inaugurated near the Square-Victoria metro station, a strategic connection point in the city to provide users with several transport alternatives. This hub increases accessibility and mobility around the city through land-use and transit integration and is part of a plan to shift commuters away from private car use. There are two charging stations for electric cars, parking spaces reserved for self-service electric cars and motorcycles, taxi stands, bike facilities, a BIXI bike-sharing service station and a metro station nearby.

Since October 2017, new Azur trains have been integrated into the Montréal metro network to gradually replace the old MR-63 and MR-73 trains, which are being reused in various urban development projects. In addition, the STM plans to extend the blue line of the Montréal metro system in 2025 and set up a Bus Rapid Transport network on a major axis. While these expansions do not directly shift commuters from private car usage, the increased network capacity will be able to accommodate the transit needs of the growing population.

LOGISTICS & FREIGHT PRODUCTIVITY

LOGISTICS & FREIGHT PRODUCTIVITY

Score: 6.8/10

With its air, maritime, road and rail access, Montréal has an efficient infrastructure network allowing it to be an intermodal freight hub. According to Montréal International's report on attractiveness factors, Montréal is recognized for the efficiency of its market access, border administration, transportation and communications infrastructure, and its business climate.

Freight transportation is an important economic vector for the City of Montréal and is a natural fit with the Metropolitan Economic Development Plan 2015-2020 of the Montréal Metropolitan (CMM), which offers strategic directions for economic development. CMM also provides financial support to newly created industrial clusters including information and communications technology, clean technology and logistics and transportation.

In 2012, the Montréal Metropolitan Logistics and Transportation Cluster (CargoM) was launched. By bringing together all the players involved in research, logistics and the transportation of merchandise, CargoM aimed to make Montréal a more attractive and recognized transit operation platform. CargoM is part of the Metropolitan Economic Development Plan 2015-2020.

Québec's Sustainable Mobility Policy provides financial assistance programs to maintain the infrastructure of freight transport networks on a provincial scale.

GLOBAL CONNECTIVITY

GLOBAL CONNECTIVITY

Score: 7.0/10

Aeroports de Montréal plans to expand its Montréal-Trudeau Airport terminal facilities as part of its 2013-2033 Master Plan to cater for growing freight transport demand and passenger traffic expected to reach 22 million in 2033.

The Port of Montréal is booming. In 2015, the port set two records for the quantity of goods handled and cruise ship passengers alighting in the city. Strategic measures are in place to meet the growing demand and a program to support investment in maritime transport infrastructure is available.

INFRASTRUCTURE: PEDESTRIANS & CYCLING

INFRASTRUCTURE: PEDESTRIANS & CYCLING

Score: 6.5/10

As part of its Vision Zero, the City of Montréal developed, with partners from the public and private sectors, cycling city policy that included short- and medium to long-term measures aimed mainly at an expansion of the cycling network. The goal has been achieved with nearly 850 kilometers of cycle lanes, safer street layouts for cyclists and pedestrians and better accessibility.

Although Montréal does not have a complete streets policy aimed at universal accessibility and the safety of active modes (bike and pedestrians), it plans traffic-calming measures. No action plan is dedicated to end-of-trip facilities, but several companies are encouraging active transportation by developing such facilities.

BUILT FORM: PARKING PROVISIONS

BUILT FORM: PARKING PROVISIONS

Score: 7.7/10

The parking policy developed by the City of Montréal aims to redefine dedicated space by considering the environmental impact of on-street and off-street parking (urban heat island) and the willingness of citizens to reduce their private vehicle dependency.

The policy revises this space by proposing sustainable mobility poles, new pricing, a city center parking optimization for economic vitality, a public transport service harmonization, a better sharing of the street, dedicated parking spaces for the BIXI bike-sharing service and real-time information system integration.

The action plan is well-developed and presents implementation strategies, including the revision of the regulatory framework and strategic measures.

FUTURE MOBILITY: SERVICES

FUTURE MOBILITY: SERVICES

Score: 7.0/10

Montréal is a city of choice for the implementation of new mobility services. There are car-sharing (Communauto, Car2Go), bike-sharing (BIXI) and carpooling (Netlift) companies that have been growing in recent years.

However, there is no plan or policy specifically dedicated to the integration of these services. STM is already undertaking integration measures for various mobility services under the OPUS card (STM, BIXI, Communauto) and would like to collaborate with taxi services to offer users a varied combination of modes of transport.

FUTURE MOBILITY: TECHNOLOGY

FUTURE MOBILITY: TECHNOLOGY

Score: 6.0/10

The City of Montréal aims to become the North American leader in transportation electrification and sustainable mobility by 2020. In the past few years, several efforts have been made to streamline and refine transport in Montréal. These include the development of the 2016-2020 Transportation Electrification Strategy, Velo-Transit Pilot Project, an electric bike sharing initiative that aims to reduce road traffic and use sustainable forms of transit, and the Montréal City Mobility Project, in collaboration with Nova Bus, the STM and other partners that aims to electrify bus lines.

Montréal's 2016-2020 Transportation Electrification Strategy calls for the creation of the Institute of Electrification and Intelligent Transportation, the electrification of the STM network, the introduction of self-service electric vehicles, increasing the electric terminals network and the application of a parking policy for electric vehicles.

At the same time, the Québec Government is offering financial assistance programs for electric vehicle purchase and is introducing preferential measures for electric vehicle users through its Roulez Electrique program.

Driverless cars and drone technologies are considered worthy of further investigation without firm strategy or implementation.

Technology

TECHNOLOGY

Score: 7.7/10
CONNECTIVITY & INFRASTRUCTURE

CONNECTIVITY & INFRASTRUCTURE

Score: 9.0/10

In 2016, Montréal was named Intelligent Community of the Year by the Intelligent Community Forum. It was recognized for its innovative use of information and communications technologies to create economic prosperity by addressing social issues and enhancing quality of life, in part by improving transportation and mobility. Montréal created the Smart and Digital City Office in 2014 and has initiated 70 projects through the 2015-2017 Montréal Smart and Digital City Action Plan.

Already recognized for its vitality in the field of digital technologies, Montréal aims to become a world leader among smart and digital cities. Connectivity and digital infrastructure are identified as priority actions.

FIXED INTERNET: SPEEDS & FEEDS

FIXED INTERNET: SPEEDS & FEEDS

Score: 9.0/10

Modern telecommunications services are fundamental to Canada’s future economic prosperity, global competitiveness, social development and democratic discourse. Fixed and mobile wireless broadband internet access services are catalysts for innovation and underpin a vibrant, creative, interactive world that connects Canadians across vast distances with the rest of the world.

One of the primary providers in Montréal has committed to expanding its fiber optic internet network to more than one million homes and businesses across the city by 2022. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulates the fiber and wireless companies to ensure access to these services across the country.

MOBILE INTERNET: WI-FI, 5G, NARROWBAND IOT

MOBILE INTERNET: WI-FI, 5G, NARROWBAND IOT

Score: 9.0/10
Montréal has expanded its free wireless internet network for the public to a total of 825 access stations, including existing access zones that have been integrated. Industry Canada, now known as ISED (Innovation, Science and Economic Development), is preparing for additional spectrum auctions to support 5G and other mobile evolutions. The Governments of Canada, Ontario and Québec have partnered with some of the world’s digital heavyweights to work towards the next generation of wireless technology. A new project, ENCQOR (Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Québec and Ontario for Research and Innovation), will create a 5G wireless corridor through the two largest provinces in Canada to support the growing network of physical devices, vehicles and other objects that are increasingly communicating directly with each other. This project will allow an estimated 1,000 small and medium businesses to plug into an early 5G platform for research and development. OPEN DATA

OPEN DATA

Score: 7.0/10
The city has developed an open data policy that serves as an administrative document to define open data governance and responsibilities for its use. An open by default approach was elected for the policy, whereby all data collected or acquired by the city is considered open, with certain exceptions for reasons of privacy and public security. A shared open data portal for the Government of Québec and the province’s municipalities was launched in April 2016. By the end of 2018, more than 800 data sets will have been released. However, this portal is currently only available in French (an English version is under development). INFORMATION & DATA SECURITY

INFORMATION & DATA SECURITY

Score: 4.0/10

The City of Montréal has published its commitment to data confidentiality and security, in accordance with the provincial and federal acts, on its web page. The Province of Québec has enacted the Act Respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the Private Sector to exercise the rights of the Civil Code that relate to the protection and use of personal information. This Act also deals with the rules for protecting the confidentiality of personal information and the necessary security measures required to ensure that all personal information is protected when retained or otherwise destroyed. The Province of Québec also has enacted legislation dealing with respecting Access to Documents held by Public Bodies and the Protection of Personal Information to govern the use of personal information.

Canada’s Federal Government legislated to govern the use of all personal information collected by the federal government and the rights Canadian citizens have in accessing information that has been collected. Also, the Federal Government has enacted the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to, “govern the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in a manner that recognizes the right to privacy of individuals with respect to their personal information and the need of organizations to collect, use or disclose personal information for purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances.”

PLANNING & POLICY

PLANNING & POLICY

Score: 8.0/10
The planning and policies for facilitating or commissioning communications infrastructure across Canada are regulated on a federal level. The CRTC is the organization that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in the public interest. It has a three-year plan that outlines the key activities until 2020, the annual study of telecommunication services in Canada and the Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-496 that applies countrywide. Because of the exclusive federal jurisdiction in Canada, Montréal has a limited role in influencing planning and policies. Urban Systems

URBAN SYSTEMS

Score: 6.2/10
POWER GENERATION & DISTRIBUTION

POWER GENERATION & DISTRIBUTION

Score: 5.1/10

Montréal’s plans to address renewable energy technologies and infrastructure in the future is undecided. In any case, Québec is already producing 97 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, primarily from hydroelectric power. Sixty per cent of Québec’s clean energy sector jobs are in Montréal, making it a hub for renewable energy production, research, and education.

Montréal supports many companies operating in renewable energy sectors including hydroelectric power, biomass, wind power, and solar power. In fact, Québec has the highest potential for wind power across North America and has produced innovation and research in the wind power sector.

WATER TREATMENT & DISTRIBUTION

WATER TREATMENT & DISTRIBUTION

Score: 7.0/10

Montréal Durable 2016-2020 is a program that prioritizes reducing drinking water consumption and stormwater management. The City of Montréal has a regulation regarding water usage and sustainable water management. For example, the use of cooling systems that utilize potable water and do not have a closed recirculation system have been forbidden from January 2018. The city promotes the reuse of stormwater to reduce storm runoff from urban areas and decrease the demand on potable water. These standards require municipalities to reduce or not increase their spills to the natural environment if they wish to carry out developments. In case of developments, the municipality must prove by the overflow management plan that the overflows will not be increased by them. Desalination is not required in Montréal as freshwater sources are sufficient for the region.

Since 2004, a Water Fund program has been used to coordinate the financing of the long-term water infrastructure rehabilitation program in the Montréal region. Massive investments are required. This includes the water treatment plants as well as the distribution network. There are several projects for water treatment innovation and upgrade, but biogas and energy recovery are subjects that have recently started to appear.

The Saint Lawrence River, being the main freshwater source for the city, is constantly being monitored at four locations for its quality, in terms of toxic substances. The St. Lawrence Action Plan 2011-2026 was developed to improve the water quality at the source.

WASTE MANAGEMENT

WASTE MANAGEMENT

Score: 6.5/10

Montréal already has waste separation and recycling infrastructure and plans to increase recycling through instituting organic waste collection in many of its buildings and implementing two- or three-way waste collection in high-usage public spaces.

The city does not have any plans involving the remediation of landfills.

Montréal plans to implement source waste reduction measures, such as banning single-use water bottles in all municipal buildings and installing more water fountains, replacing No. 6 plastics in Montréal food banks and introducing paper saving programs.

Montréal plans to recover 80 per cent of recyclables and organic materials, household hazardous waste, construction, renovation, and demolition waste and bulky refuse by 2019, as stipulated in the Municipal Waste Management Masterplan. It is committed to building two anaerobic digestion centers, two composting centers and a pilot center for the pre-treatment of organic waste.

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