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‘Team Montréal’ Working Together to Keep ICAO in Montréal

May 3, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Jean-François Lisée, Quebec’s Minister of International Relations, La Francophonie and External Trade (and Minister Responsible for the Montréal Region), and Montréal Mayor Michael Applebaum today showed a united front and common purpose in working to keep the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montréal.

The three leaders of “Team Montréal” met yesterday and today to reiterate their strong commitment to work together, bring key aviation stakeholders on board and explain to ICAO member-states the many benefits of keeping ICAO in Montréal.

“Canada, Quebec and the City of Montréal have proudly hosted ICAO since its inception in 1947,” said Baird. “We take our responsibility as host nation very seriously and the federal government—from our ministers to our frontline diplomats in our missions around the world—will fight tooth and nail to keep ICAO in Montréal, its natural home.”

“The greater Montréal region offers every advantage for accommodating ICAO, including the leading-edge skills of 40,000 specialized workers, 10 aerospace research centres, standing as an international civil aviation capital, a first-class quality of life and proximity to UN headquarters in New York,” said Minister Lisée. “The Quebec government will work with determination to make ICAO aware of the importance of keeping its headquarters in Montréal, where it generates over 500 direct jobs and economic spinoffs in the order of $100 million annually.”

“We are here together, united, to speak in one voice about our shared attachment for an institution that, over the decades, has been part of our reality and with which we have always had an excellent relationship,” said Michael Applebaum. “ICAO will be part of the city’s future. We are sure of it.”

Canada and ICAO negotiated in good faith an agreement that would ensure that ICAO headquarters remains in Montréal for an additional 20 years from 2016. The ICAO Council formally approved the agreement on March 11, 2013, and granted Raymond Benjamin, ICAO’s Secretary General, the authority to sign with Canada. In April, Qatar made a last-minute proposal to the Secretary General to relocate the organization to Doha.

Canada has expressed its strong concerns to Qatar and others. These concerns have been backed by many stakeholders.

“Team Montréal” continues to call on the ICAO Secretary General to urge him to sign the agreement with Canada, as authorized by the ICAO Council.

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A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Canada and the International Civil Aviation Organization

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the safe and cooperative development of international civil aviation. The organization’s roots are in the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as the Chicago Convention), which was signed in Chicago on December 7, 1944.

Canada was one of the 52 original signatories to the convention, and since 1947 the organization has been headquartered in Montréal.

Canada has one of the largest civil aviation systems in the world, with flights to many international destinations. The Government of Canada is actively involved at ICAO to make sure Canada’s interests and positions are represented on the international stage.

Montréal is a unique global hub of aerospace excellence. The city hosts world-class airline research companies, manufacturers and innovators. The greater Montréal region is a leading aerospace centre with the second-largest density of aerospace jobs in the world. The province of Quebec has over 13,000 aerospace engineers and scientists. ICAO benefits directly from working with the world’s leading aerospace industry experts located in Montréal and elsewhere in the province of Quebec.

Canada invests in the global aviation industry. Canada and the Province of Quebec annually invest $660 million in research and development in the aerospace industry. Quebec has 10 world-renowned aerospace research centres and seven universities advancing the global aviation industry with new technologies.