Montreal Region's Annual Check-up Released

    MONTREAL, Oct. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Foundation of Greater Montreal (FGM)
released today its second annual check-up on the health of Greater Montreal
entitled Greater Montreal's Vital Signs. At the same time, the Community
Foundations of Canada released the first Vital Signs national report, and
local reports were issued in ten other Canadian cities.
    "This annual portrait of the factors that contribute to the quality of
life in and around Montreal serves as a guide for both public policy and
philanthropic and volunteer initiatives," explained Alex Paterson, Chair of
the Board of Directors of the FGM. "By underscoring the strengths and
weaknesses of our community, Vital Signs is intended to raise awareness of the
challenges and opportunities facing our community and inspire us to work
together to address them."
    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
    The population of the metropolitan region in 2006 stood at
3,6 inhabitants. Last year only international migrations showed a net positive
balance. Over ten years the proportion of people aged 75 years and over grew
by 1.5% while those under 25years fell by 2.3 %.

    The report highlights a number of positive indicators on several fronts:

    - The unemployment rate continued its decline and now nears the Canadian
      average, something which has not been seen for at least twenty years.

    - Over the last ten years, the proportion of Montrealers having completed
      postsecondary studies has increased significantly from 43% to 55%,
      higher than the Canadian average of 48.8%.

    - In 2004, Montreal ranked first in Canada in the field of innovation,
      with 834 patents being granted to residents of the region.

    - Although Montreal ranks 16th among the 75 largest urban areas of
      North America by population, it is 40th in terms of traffic congestion.

    - Following a national trend, property crime rate is down. The region's
      rate declined to its lowest level in 15 years, ranking Montreal among
      the safest large urban regions.

    However, the report also points to a number of challenges:

    - In the metropolitan area, close to 24% of families were in the low-
      income category in 2005, and 57% of those had children. A quarter of
      these were single-parent families.

    - A high number of men (35%) and an even higher number of women (48%)
      aged 65 and over live in poverty.

    - First Nations and particularly the Inuit are over represented among the
      chronic homeless. Among homeless Aboriginals, women are almost as
      numerous as men; among non-Aboriginals, the ratio is estimated to be
      five men for every woman.

    - In 2001, the unemployment rates of recent immigrants relative to
      Canadian-born workers were 1.7 times higher across Canada, 2.6 times
      higher in Quebec and 3.4 times higher in the Montreal region.

    - In 2005 the Montreal region had 29% more general practitioners and
      specialists than the Canadian average. However, on the Island 25% of
      women and 40% of men did not have a family physician.

    - At the secondary V level, only 39% of students excercise enough to be
      in good physical shape. In the case of girls it was only 27%.

    - The rate of household recycling in Montreal is three times less than
      the government target of 60%. And at 460.5 litres per capita, water
      consumption has grown by 15.3% in three years (2001-2004), while the
      Canadian average consumption declined by 1.3%.

    "As it has over the past twelve months," concluded Kathleen Weil,
"Vital Signs will continue to increase the effectiveness of our grant-making,
while enabling donors to direct their philanthropy towards issues and problems
identified in the report. In our own case, it has led us to support a wide
range of community based projects from afterschool programs promoting physical
activity among children and teens to initiatives to keep seniors active and
engaged in the community, local campaigns to encourage Montrealers to buy
locally and use active forms of transportation, and programs to help reduce
high-school drop-out rates by assisting children in their transition from
primary to secondary school."
    In addition to the national report, Vital Signs reports were issued in
Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Sudbury,
Waterloo Region, Toronto, Ottawa and Saint John.
    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 158 members across
the country, with total assets of $2.3 billion. In 2006, these foundations
granted some $115 million in support of local charitable projects.

For further information:

For further information: Kathleen Weil, President and CEO, The
Foundation of Greater Montreal, (514) 866-0808,

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Foundation of Greater Montréal

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