Press Release – The Foundation of Greater Montréal Presents a Unique Portrait of the Reality of the City’s Children
Montréal, October 3, 2017 — The Foundation of Greater Montréal (FGM) is presenting its Vital Signs of Greater Montréal’s Children report to the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal today. This unique publication paints a multifaceted portrait of the issues central to the lives of children in the metropolitan region. Prepared under the banner of the 2017 celebrations, the report is not only the product of the combined expertise and data of 30 organizations and experts from all sectors, but is also aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 by the 193 member countries of the United Nations.
“Given that the demographic segment made up of the 820,000 youngsters under the age of 18 in Greater Montréal is the largest across Quebec, the FGM chose to dedicate this special edition of Vital Signs to the younger generation” underlines Yvan Gauthier, President and CEO of the Foundation of Greater Montréal. “But most of all, we chose this approach because young people represent the future of our community, and this exercise has enabled us to identify the principal issues confronting our youth.”
Hunger: A Major Issue in Montréal
In Montréal, 11% of households are facing food insecurity — meaning the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume is inadequate. In fact, close to 35,000 children under the age of 18 rely on the Moisson Montréal, Moisson Laval or Moisson South Shore food banks each month. This percentage is higher than that observed in Quebec and Canada. Furthermore, 46% of Montréal high school students do not have breakfast before going to class, as compared to 38% across Quebec. According to UNICEF, Canada ranks 37th of 41 developed countries with respect to the problem of hunger.
A High Rate of Violence Directed at Children
The rate of domestic violence within the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Montréal is higher than in other metropolitan regions of Canada. Indeed, the CMAs of Saint John in New Brunswick, Saguenay, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières and Gatineau are the only areas in Canada posting domestic violence rates higher than Montréal.
An Accessible and Inclusive Education Network
Fortunately, in addition to accessible daycare services, children in the Greater Montréal region presently have access to inclusive and quality education at the preschool, primary and secondary levels alike. With respect to student retention, the high school graduation rate is improving — 61% after five years, but 80% after seven years. “The good news is that numerous dropouts are dropping back in,” explains Yvan Gauthier.
A Significant but Attenuated Poverty Situation
Poverty remains clearly present in Montréal, with the city being home to the largest number of low-income districts in Canada. On the other hand, taxation and social transfers have resulted in the percentage of Montréal’s young people under the age of 18 living in low-income situations decline from 22% to 16%.
Favourable Living Environment
“On a positive note, our young people are growing up in living environments that are healthy in many respects,” Mr. Gauthier points out. Between 1990 and 2013, Montréal’s air quality has improved, and there has been a 25% decline in greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, over 90% of children in Montréal and Laval reside less than one kilometre from a park or green space. For their part, Montréal schools stand out for their proximity to bicycle paths and the city for its pedestrian-friendliness.
A Village for Our Children
“The Vital Signs report does not offer an analysis of these observations, but has been published for the purposes of stimulating discussion. A number of organizations have already announced important initiatives that we hope will give rise to more innovative projects aimed at promoting the well-being of youth in Greater Montréal. The Vital Signs report outlines a multidimensional reality calling for the implementation of plural strategies and actions that, most notably, include our young people in a vision of sustainable development,” concludes Yvan Gauthier.
A Report Aligned with the UNICEF Report Card
The Vital Signs report is in line with a pan-Canadian initiative coordinated by Community Foundations of Canada. Vital Signs of Greater Montréal Children 2017 follows the framework of the Report Card 14 published by UNICEF. In its report, UNICEF ranks Canada 25th among 41 developed countries with respect to the well-being of children and young people. The country ranked 12th in 2007.
About the Foundation of Greater Montréal
The Foundation of Greater Montréal has implemented a collective philanthropy model based on the creation of funds and turnkey foundations for individuals, organizations and corporations in Greater Montréal. With more than 500 funds in place, the FGM offers advice and assistance to fund creators to support their engagement in the community. Since its establishment in 1999, the FGM has become a philanthropic hub, while serving as an important investment lever to promote the success of sustainable projects and initiatives within all sectors of society.
Foundation of Greater Montréal
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514.866-0808, ext. 109