Photo: Valérian Mazataud The Duty
Then began the déconfinement gradual, the administration of Valérie Plante has asked a group of experts to propose solutions to revive the economy of Montreal.
To propel the revival of Montreal, the City should step up its support for businesses, promote public transit and get to Quebec on the possibility of a deficit. It is this that recommends that a committee of experts commissioned by the administration for the Plant in a report published on Tuesday.
Before the crisis of the COVID-19, Montreal had the wind in the sails in terms of jobs and investment. The pandemic has hit hardest. Many companies have had to close their doors temporarily, and others have reduced their workforce. Besides the major cultural and sporting events that have been cancelled. Montreal works at idle since the month of march and it has even become the epicentre of the pandemic in Canada.
Then began the déconfinement gradual, the administration of Valérie Plante has asked a group of experts, chaired by Luc Godbout, holder of the Chair in taxation and public finance from the University of Sherbrooke, proposing solutions to revive the economy of Montreal.
Finance under pressure
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the City has taken several steps to give a boost to businesses and give a respite to the owners. In particular, it has postponed to July 2, the first payment of property taxes, which has deprived her of cash two billion dollars. It has also incurred many expenses for the purchase of protective equipment and the overtime hours of its employees. Its revenues in transit, rights of transfer, parking meters and permits are in free-fall. The City is anticipating a shortfall that may reach 538 million this year.
In Canada, municipalities do not have the right to run deficits, but the committee suggests that the City of Montreal to obtain from the government of Quebec on the temporary lifting of its obligation to balance its budget while obtaining financial support from other orders of government to help it through the crisis. The committee proposes that the City is considering the issuance of” special bonds of stimulus “.
The right to the deficit, however, is not an avenue that puts more emphasis on the Federation of canadian municipalities last April. When questioned about this, the mayor of Gatineau, Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, had considered this option impractical. “This is dumping the problem before,” he said.
The committee of experts also proposes to extend the deferral of property taxes and even to consider the possibility of offering tax rebates for certain sectors of the neighborhoods most affected by the crisis.
It promotes telecommuting for employees of the City and support to SMES to do the same while taking into account its impacts to the downtown merchants, who depend on these workers.
The committee has several suggestions for the City to shoulder the businesses by promoting buying local or supporting them in their transition to digital, it has already begun to do.
Experts believe that in its revival, Montreal must not lose sight of the environmental issues. “It is necessary to transform the crisis of the COVID-19-in opportunity on the environmental plan so that Montreal will become a leader on the plan of the energy transition “, they write.
They also insist on the importance of public transport which could be perceived as less safe than the car in the time of a pandemic. They urge in particular the City work with large employers to adjust schedules and avoid a lot of traffic too high at peak hours. The board of trade of metropolitan Montreal has also started discussions with the employers on this subject.
In urban matters, the committee is going in the direction of the facilities already proposed by the administration Plant to promote active transportation with the establishment of corridors in the hospital and the pedestrian streets or shared.
Montreal should not neglect the cultural industry, which represents economic impact of $ 9.4 billion for Quebec and is expected to financially support major events to festivals online, and creating interactive platforms of dissemination of shows, writes the committee.
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