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BMO Financial Group

February 28, 2011 12:30 ET

The President of BMO Financial Group, Quebec, Urges Quebecers to Commit to Education, Innovation and Personal Responsibility in Every Field of Activity

According to L. Jacques Menard, There's Nothing Mysterious About Productivity... And It's Up to Us to Prove It

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Feb. 28, 2011) - "Canadian productivity, which is about 75% lower than U.S. productivity, costs Canadians $300 billion a year in lost income, jobs, profits and taxes, including some $65 to $70 million for Quebec," said L. Jacques Ménard, President of BMO Financial Group, Quebec, in a luncheon speech today before members of the Canadian Club of Montreal.

Addressing the issue of productivity from the viewpoint of Generation Y and with an eye to the challenges facing Quebec in the next two decades, Mr. Ménard stressed the importance of innovation, personal responsibility and education as the cornerstone of the Quebec of tomorrow. "It's education that has enabled us to reach our current position and it's education that will give us the second wind we need to enter the small circle of top leaders," said the Concordia University chancellor and chair of the Action Group on Student Retention and Success in Quebec.

Mr. Ménard also encouraged Quebec businesses that have not taken advantage of the strong dollar to increase their productivity and spur innovation by upping their investment in information technology, equipment and machinery. He also proposed creating a productivity and innovation council whose mandate would be to collect, explain and disseminate, on a sectoral basis, the best practices in use around the globe that are accessible to SMEs and their executives.

On the social front, in view of the rapid aging of Quebec's population, Mr. Ménard called for innovation and a new approach to delivering services by focusing on the client or patient instead of limiting access to care or services in order to balance the budgets of the public bodies that provide the services. "We've got to make more room for the delivery of health care services by the private sector at lower cost and funded entirely by the government, as recommended by the Working Committee on the Sustainability of the Québec Health Care and Social Services System, which I chaired in 2004–2005," Mr. Ménard added.

Hailing the recent launch of Finance Montréal, the president of BMO in Quebec also encouraged the creation of industrial clusters and better coordination of inter-related companies in these clusters, pointing to Aéro Montréal's success in promoting innovation to the benefit of the entire aerospace sector.

"To increase our productivity, we have to change our habits as well as our ways of thinking and then take action by supporting the efforts of the new generation and its projects with promise for the future," Mr. Ménard concluded.

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