Panel releases report proposing 16 recommendations for Montreal’s economic recovery

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A panel of experts has released a report with 16 recommendations on how the Montreal economy can best recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The panel, led by University of Sherbrooke chair in taxation and public finance Luc Godbout released the report Tuesday called ‘From confinement to recovery: for a resilient metropolis’ alongside Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante.

The report offers insight into how to support the economy in the short term, especially for the most vulnerable sectors and players, while simultaneously working toward a sustainable model that will transform the city to make it more resilient, officials said.

The 16 recommendations are in five broad areas:

1) Budget and finance

The report recommends the government of Quebec lift its requirement that the city balances its budget. The city should also consider extending property tax flexibility and deferrals to sectors most affected by the crisis.

2) Workforce

The report recommends encouraging teleworking, as well as supporting smaller businesses (SMEs) to develop telework. These recommendations also take into account the reality of downtown merchants who depend on a local workforce for business.

3) Companies and businesses

The report recommends creating local online purchasing and delivery initiatives, including combining offers to digital consumers from various Montreal companies, as well as support for Panier Bleu.

It also recommends considering appropriate management of vacant storefronts, collective businesses and co-ops, and helping businesses make the necessary adjustments for the pandemic with an ISO-COVID certification that could be promoted and established by city inspectors.

4) Transport and urban planning

The report recommends coordination among significant players, including transit companies, large businesses and academic institutions, regarding the use and planning of public transport. The panel is encouraging staggering working hours, for example. It also recommends that the federal and provincial governments prioritize Montreal in infrastructure planning. Montreal should also rethink the layout of some public spaces to take into account the dynamics in each borough.

5) Culture and tourism

The panel recommends the city offers financial support to transform and create online festivals and other interactive platforms as well as promoting more small events at the local level.

“Our revival will take into account social equality and the ecological transition,” said Plante.

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