Economies around the world experienced a turbulent year in 2022, but the Greater Montréal metropolitan area is once again proving to be resilient with robust growth in foreign investment across multiple sectors.
Montréal International, the area’s economic promotion agency, recently released its annual results with some eye-catching figures in its target sectors. The 12 months of 2022 saw a record 102 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with a combined value of C$3.58bn ($2.61bn), creating a total of 8,287 jobs with an average salary of more than C$88,000.
How health sciences investments have hit record highs
Foreign investment in life sciences and healthtech in Greater Montréal hit new highs in 2022, comprising 19% of all FDI in Montréal.
Life sciences and health technologies saw 12 new FDI projects in 2022 with a combined value of C$684.7m, soaring by 143.76% from 2021’s total. Perhaps most surprisingly, life sciences and health technologies even outperformed Montréal’s well-established video games industry in terms of FDI, which took a 13% share. As life sciences and health technologies is a target sector for Montréal International, these figures are proof that the growth strategy is working.
The highest-profile addition to Montréal’s life sciences sector recently is Moderna, which is building a biomanufacturing facility for messenger RNA-based vaccines in the region. Other international companies are following suit to make the most of the research opportunities at Montréal’s world-class universities and its advanced AI ecosystem, with a talent pool packed with fresh ideas and the energy to innovate.
In life sciences, AI enables accelerated development of breakthroughs in medicine and health technologies. Montréal is home to Mila, Quebec’s AI Institute, and the local universities and post-secondary establishments also run various AI programmess. Collaborations with world-renowned institutions such as Université de Montréal, McGill University, Concordia University and UQAM are also possible for companies based in Quebec.
A significant factor behind Montréal’s strengths in AI is its IT sector, which continues to attract foreign investment. In 2022, data storage and analytics attracted 9% of all FDI in Montréal, with another 9% for IT services, and software receiving 7%. Investments from Samsung and Google are a testament to how highly regarded Montréal’s IT ecosystem is by major tech companies.
Further investors are US companies Circle Medical and Xybion Digital. Circle Medical announced it would be investing in its software development centre in Montréal, while software services provider Xybion Digital revealed its decision to establish a base in the region to develop digital solutions for life sciences and healthtech applications.
A diversification in FDI
Montréal is also seeing a noticeable shift in the diversification of investment in terms of where the FDI originates. During 2022, investments came from 22 countries, with more than half coming from the Americas and the vast majority from the US. The second category was Europe, Africa and the Middle East, which accounted for a combined 41.7% of FDI. Within this, France makes up more than half of the total, followed by Switzerland, with a French-speaking base in North America of considerable appeal to companies from these countries. Asia and Oceania make up the remaining 7.9%.
Furthermore, Greater Montréal continues to build its priority sectors and attract investors amid progress towards its goal to decarbonise the economy. With 100% renewable energy, the region has a history of providing environmentally friendly solutions to investors and organisations. Today, the quest to achieve net-zero emissions goes well beyond clean electricity. Montréal International is increasingly active in supporting cleantech and sustainability-related projects.
In that context, companies from a wide variety of sectors are choosing the metropolitan area to develop clean technologies and other green solutions. For instance, in the aerospace sector, Swiss company Dufour Aerospace and UK-based Ricardo both announced investments in Montréal in 2022 to develop software solutions to be applied to the electrification of aircraft engines. Meanwhile, JLL unveiled its Center of Excellence in Sustainable Development in Montréal to help reduce the carbon footprint of building infrastructure.
The combination of these investments and innovations will help ensure that future growth in Montréal is both environmentally and economically sustainable.
To find out why major life science companies are choosing Montréal, download the white paper below.