“As a leader with respect to inclusion, Montreal draws its inspiration from the potential of diversity to promote its development. Much like other great cities of the world, the metropolis of Quebec places cohesion and social inclusion at the very heart of its policies. Montreal must integrate new paradigms to overcome the challenges it is facing, both on a local and global scale. Cities are the most local of governments and as such, they must show leadership and put forth innovative urban practices.
– Mayor Valérie Plante
First elected city councillor in Saint-Marie district in 2013, Valérie Plante was chosen by Projet Montréal members to lead the party in 2016. Her contagious passion and energy have helped her rally people around her progressive vision. Deeply committed to participatory democracy, Valérie Plante has a bold plan for Montréal centred on increased access to public transport, improved urban planning and public services, the economy and the environment. Her commitment is to bridge the gap on these issues for all 19 city boroughs.
She became mayor of Montréal on November 5, 2017. As mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plante is a member of various advisory committees and governing boards including: Chair of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM), Executive committee member of the Union des Municipalités du Québec (UMQ), Governing board member of Montréal international, Governing board member of Fondation Montréal inc., Member of the Big City Mayors’ Caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Co-president of Metropolis, and ICLEI’s Global Ambassador for Local Biodiversity.
Like many cities around the world, Montréal was an ‘epicentre of the pandemic’. Three months after Quebec ordered schools and all non-essential businesses to close, to stem the spread of COVID-19, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced major investments in infrastructure, transportation and local businesses to help rebuild the city’s hard-hit economy. Mayor Plante sees the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to do things differently and lay the foundations for a resilient, prosperous, green and inclusive city that will leave no one behind.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Montreal made bathrooms with running water available in downtown areas for the homeless population during the pandemic. It also ensured those living on the streets, and groups that work with the homeless, get access to sanitary supplies. In addition, the city has set up new overflow shelters and day centres for the homeless amid the COVID-19 crisis.
COVID-19 has changed how people move around. In response, Montreal is changing its streets by adding 327 kilometres of bicycle paths and pedestrian lanes, while some thoroughfares will be closed to motor vehicles. It is part of an effort to open up the city, and its businesses, to residents after months of COVID-19 lockdown and improve public health. Even though some of those lanes will be temporary, to address the particular needs of the crisis, active transport lanes will make the city’s cycling network among the most extensive in the world. Another objective of the plan is to ensure there are places for people to move in higher-density neighbourhoods that have less green space — while relieving pressure on the city’s park.
Montreal is experiencing consistent growth and the city is aiming to provide a built environment that meets the needs of current and future generations. It is in this spirit that Montreal’s urban development projects aim to support the emergence of sustainable neighbourhoods, promote environmentally friendly mobility and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Montreal has recently adopted an ambitious strategy for the development of affordable housing to meet the diverse needs of its communities and citizens. The city’s proactive approach and investments have drawn financial contributions from higher levels of government that have been essential to reach housing goals. Interventions carried out as part of this strategy are meant for developing and existing neighbourhoods alike.
As part of the emergency assistance program, Montreal has launched a series of initiatives aiming to help businesses, ranging from low-interest loans to the delay of property tax payments. The city has advanced loans of up to $50,000 to as many as 1,000 businesses hit by the pandemic, in addition to assistance offered by the federal and provincial governments. These loans helped businesses during the crisis, which shut down all non-essential commerce in March 2020. To boost economic development post-COVID 19, the Mayor announced the city would inject $22 million into the economy over a six-month period as part of the city’s Economic Recovery Plan. The city will also focus on responsible sourcing, procuring from local service providers as much as possible. The Mayor’s administration also plans to modify tax regulations, adapting them to new realities in order to revive the downtown economy. It will support projects to temporarily occupy vacant lots for pop-up businesses, cultural projects and other community initiatives.
The Montreal Sustainable Development Programme is providing 15 SMEs and social economy enterprises, 13 of which are run by women, with training and support to identify innovative solutions to sustainable development challenges, including climate change. The Council of Sustainable Industries, the firm Ellio and the Government of Quebec have partnered with the city of Montreal for this project which will promote the implementation of sustainable and inspiring business models, as part of the Women4Climate international project.