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Working in Montreal

In a number of different sectors, companies based in Montréal are among the world leaders in their respective fields. All the more reason for expats to be interested in working there! Our expat guide to working in Montréal gives you a first overview.
Montreal is home to Canada's second most powerful city economy.

At a Glance:

  • A huge number of new jobs have recently been created in Montréal, particularly in the services sector.
  • Taking the Labor Market Impact Assessment is vital in order to receive your temporary work permit.
  • Social security provisions are covered under the Québec Pension Plan.

Québec’s Economic Engine

As a main economic hub for the province of Québec and Canada as a whole, Montréal and its metro area contribute a sizeable part of the GDP, both on the provincial and national level. The makeup of the sectors and their significance for the economy of the city closely resemble what you might already be familiar with from other metropolises of westernized countries. While there is still a significant number of people working in Montréal’s industry and food-producing sectors — especially the agri-food processing sector — most people working in Montréal today have found employment in the services sector. There is currently a job boom, as 70,000 new jobs were created in September 2016. In fact, Montreal saw a record 1.03 million people employed in new jobs in December 2016.

The Three Main Economic Sectors

In the minds of many people today, the concept of working in Montréal is almost inextricably connected to one of the three major sectors of the city and its metro region. There are of course many sectors and trades you could choose to venture into, for example the city’s booming film industry, banking and finances, its cutting-edge nanotechnology sector, or environmental technologies. However, the following have probably helped give Montréal the great reputation for technology and medicine it has today:

Aerospace

The aerospace sector is arguably what the city is most well-known for around the world, with more than 240 companies, some of them major global players, working in Montréal and neighboring regions. The products and services offered cover a wide range, reaching from commercial flight simulators to plane manufacturing and the coordination of the Canadian space program, to name just a few. The region not only has various training programs and educational facilities to meet the demand for young blood working in Montréal’s aerospace sector, but also boasts more than ten aerospace research and development centers. These factors further contribute to making Montréal one of the three main aerospace centers in the world. With employees in Montréal making up 45% of the total Canadian aerospace workforce, moving there is probably one of the wisest career steps for any expat specializing in this sector.

IT/ICT and Gaming Industries

In recent years, the IT/ICT sector has given aerospace a run for its money, so to speak. Within this sector, it has primarily been the video game developers opening up shop in Montréal which have seen the most rapid growth, making it one of the city’s main industries today. Video game enthusiasts and programmers from around the globe will tip their hats towards the studios and publishers from Montréal, among them many world leaders, whose numbers are rising almost constantly. This is hardly surprising, both with the unprecedented popularity of gaming and seeing how the government has heavily subsidized this sector with tax incentives and financial aids. Working in the ICT sector of Montréal, you will be surrounded by leaders in the industry and it is a great place for start-ups or innovative new businesses.

Life Sciences

Life sciences and health technologies are further staples in the diverse economic environment of Montréal. The many excellent universities and institutes in the city and its metro region offer classes and programs in nearly every specialist field of life sciences. Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical technology as well as research facilities specializing in neurology, cardiology, and immunology are all represented in the metro region. Montréal has internationally acclaimed expertise in: cancer research and treatment, genetics, neurosciences, and mental health. The Life Sciences sector has approximately 40,000 employees in 600 organizations, including 150 research centers.

Using the Chance: Expat Opportunities in Montréal

Seeing how Montréal is not only a major city in regard to its economic prowess, but also the quality and quantity of its tertiary educational institutions, expats should expect to face considerable competition on the job market. English-speaking expats are strongly advised to start French lessons as soon as possible, as city residents have the right to be served in French and most employers will prioritize French over English. Adding to this, the many special requirements to be fulfilled by anyone thinking of working in Montréal temporarily — we have listed them on page two of this article — may pose further obstacles.

Thankfully, the fierce competition on the job market does not apply to every profession. If you have any expertise in one of the sectors dealing with labor shortage, you might be able to improve your opportunities and speed up the process of acquiring a work permit.

We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Jose Carreira

"When I first came to Montréal, the InterNations Events helped me to get in touch with new clients and business partners. "

Anna Maria Osario

"As an expat from Argentina, I absolutely love wine, and I found some nice wine bars and wine tasting events here in Montréal. "

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