Montreal, as beautiful as it may be, has some serious issues. Weird policies, constant roadwork, and a declining economy are all aspects of the city everyone loves to complain about, but to business owners, Montreal's not-quite-ideal features create far more problems in comparison to the average citizen. In fact, running a business in Montreal is harder than anywhere else in the Canada, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
Working with the Financial Post, the CFIB releases an annual Entrepreneurial City Rankings, and for 2015, Montreal got the bottom spot. Out of 120 Canadian cities, Montreal has been ranked the definitive worst city to run a business in all of Canada, for the second year running. Um, at least the city is consistent, right?
The CFIB study ranked cities based on three factors: policy (taxation rates, waiting time for permits, etc.), presence (amount of entrepeneurs and emergence of new businesses/startups), and perspective (how optimistic business owners feel about success in the city). Cities were then given a score based on all three categories, with the sum adding up to their total ranking.
At the top of the list was the Calgary periphery, with a score of 73.0. The City of Montreal, on the other hand, had a total score of 36.1, otherwise known as dead last.
Delving into each specific category, Montreal ranked lowest overall when it came to policy and presence. Simon Gaudreault, senior economist at CFIB told the Financial Post that Montreal's low policy score is due to the high tax rates imposed on businesses in the city along with the incredibly long time owners need to wait when it comes to getting permits approved, which can waste time, effort, and money.
When it came to perspective, or how optimistic a business owner is of their success in a given city, the reasoning behind Montreal's last place ranking, again according to Gaudreault, was none other than construction work. For business owners, the presence of orange cones and blocked roadways seriously affects customer acquisition, and given how ever-present construction work is in Montreal, it isn't hard to understand how businesses are pretty pessimistic.
But what about the presence category, you ask? Well, Montreal actually placed somewhere in the middle on that front, largely thanks to the growing startup community in the city. Existing online, not needing to rent out a gigantic space as is required for storefronts and like businesses, and receiving monetary support from organizations like FounderFuel, startups in Montreal are saved from the afflictions old school business face everyday, and so can thrive in the city.
To Montrealers, the fact that it's uber-difficult to launch a successful new business, at least one that largely functions offline, shouldn't come as much of a surprise. "Fermé" and "à louer" are found all throughout the city, and seem to pop up on windows just after a couple of months, even on high-traffic streets like Saint Laurent. Don't even get us started on Prince Arthur.
Hopefully the city pays heed to a title as bad as "worst city to run a business in Canada" and makes some changes to help out the independnat business owners of Montreal. To read more on the topic, check out the full report here.