Launch of Greater Montreal's Vital Signs 2008 - FGM Releases First Annual CROP Survey

    MONTREAL, Oct. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - The Foundation of Greater Montreal (FGM)
today released its third annual check-up on the health of Greater Montreal
entitled Greater Montreal's Vital Signs 2008. At the same time, sixteen other
community foundations across the country issued their local report cards.
    Vital Signs presents a statistical outlook on different sectors of
community life such as work, the gap between the rich and the poor, learning,
health and wellness, housing, getting around, safety, the environment, arts
and culture, getting started in the community as well as belonging and
    "This year's report provides some pleasant surprises, especially in such
areas as the birth rate, employment, education, arts and culture and crime
levels, said Kathleen Weil, FGM President and Chief Executive Officer. But it
also reminds us that there is still much work to do in a number of areas and
that advances are sometimes fragile. Poverty and its effects on children and
families continue to challenge us and progress on the environmental front
remains slow."

    Highlights of Greater Montreal's Vital Signs 2008 include:

    - The population of the Greater Montreal region continues to grow, in
      large measure due to immigration. A rising birth rate is also a factor,
      progressing for the third consecutive year and reaching 11.6 births per
      1000 residents in 2007.
    - Employment grew significantly in 2007. For the first time in 20 years,
      Montreal rose above the Canadian average, recording an increase of 2.5%
      in the number of jobs (vs. 2.3% for Canada as a whole) and was first
      among large urban areas on the North American eastern seaboard.
    - With an unemployment rate in 2006 which was more than three times
      greater than that of Canadian-born residents, newcomers continue to
      face difficulties in entering the labour market. In 2005 the family
      income of immigrants was only $49,257 as against $68,430 for
    - In the area of education, diploma rates have continued to rise over the
      years, at both the secondary and postsecondary levels.
    - In Greater Montreal, as in other regions, socioeconomic disparities
      persist. While the number of children living in low-income families
      declined slightly to 22.1% in 2006, these children accounted for 45% of
      Moisson Montréal's clientele. For low-income families - 16.7% of all
      Montreal families in 2005 - access to affordable housing continues to
      be a problem.
    - At close to 15%, the obesity rate has been rising in the population as
      a whole.
    - Residents willingly recycle (91%), but have been slow to adopt measures
      to conserve energy and water or to give up their cars and switch to
      public transit.
    - Criminal behaviours involving Highway Code violations, spousal violence
      and sexual abuse are on the decline. The rate of hate crimes in the
      Montreal region for 2007 was lower than the national average, and than
      the rates in other major Canadian cities.
    - Arts and culture continue to play an important role in the lives of
      Montrealers. The artistic milieu continues to offer a great diversity
      of programming and to reach a broad clientele, while at the same time
      providing an essential learning tool for the young.

    The FGM has innovated in its third edition of Vital Signs by adding a
brief survey conducted by the CROP polling firm to seek the views of the
people behind the statistics in this annual check-up. "We found it very
interesting to be able to establish a parallel between the objective data and
the perceptions of the population," stated Marcel Côté, Vice President of the
FGM Board of Directors and President of the Vital Signs Steering Committee.

    Key conclusions of the survey are:

    - More than half of respondents identified poverty, quality of the
      environment, public transit and the integration of immigrant
      communities as priority issues;
    - Montrealers are willing to take steps to improve the region's quality
      of life, especially when they are given the right tools. Recycling is
      an excellent example of this.

    Foundation of Greater Montreal

    The Foundation of Greater Montreal is a charitable organization dedicated
to promoting the well-being of the community. It encourages the establishment
of permanent endowment funds and ensures their sound management, then
redistributes the income in the form of grants to support organizations across
the entire community in a variety of areas, including health, social services,
arts and culture, education, and the environment.
    The Foundation of Greater Montreal is a member of Community Foundations
of Canada (CFC), an organization that currently includes 164 members across
the country, with total assets of $2.7 billion. In 2007, these foundations
granted some $176 million in support of local charitable projects.

For further information:

For further information: Kathleen Weil, présidente et directrice
générale, Fondation du Grand Montréal, (514) 866-0808 # 101,

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Foundation of Greater Montréal

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