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Team Montréal Makes It Official: ICAO HQ Here to Stay

May 27, 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), Montréal Mayor Michael Applebaum, and ICAO Secretary General Raymond Benjamin today celebrated the signing of a new agreement to keep the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montréal.

The Agreement sets out the terms between ICAO and Canada that will keep ICAO headquartered in Montréal for 20 years beyond 2016 (the year the current agreement expires). Montréal has been home to the ICAO since its inception in 1947.  

“Today is a great day for Montréal, for Quebec and for Canada—our joint efforts have paid off,” said Baird. “Each level of government, and many other stakeholders as well, recognized the importance of keeping ICAO where it belongs, and we joined forces to work together in true team spirit to get the job done.”

“This outcome, of which we are particularly proud, is the product of a fast, efficient and concerted effort to retain the jewel that is ICAO,” said Minister Lisée. “But we won’t stop there. We’ll continue to work together with a view to consolidating the aerospace ecosystem, which includes ICAO, in the heart of the metropolis.”

“This proves what can be done when all levels of government work together. This is excellent news for Montréal and we have always been proud to be home to a world-class organization like the ICAO since it’s part of the future of our metropolis,” said Mayor Applebaum.

“Canada has been a gracious host to ICAO for well over 60 years now, and Montréal’s multicultural and aerospace-intensive environment is very well-suited to our organization’s State Council Representatives, delegates and international staff,” said ICAO Secretary General Benjamin. “We’re very grateful to Canada for its recent streamlining of diplomatic protocols and enhancing of ICAO’s working environment, support that will help to ensure our continuing leadership role within the global aviation community.”

Canada, Quebec and Montréal take the responsibility of hosting ICAO very seriously. In recent weeks, all three governments have listened carefully to ICAO members and are taking steps to offer enhanced service to the organization. These measures will be offered in addition to the Supplementary Agreement, negotiated in good faith by Canada over the last two years and endorsed by the ICAO Council on March 11, 2013.

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A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Montréal: ICAO’s Natural Home

Montréal, Quebec, has proudly hosted the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) since its inception in 1947. As a major international hub for aviation excellence and as a cosmopolitan, world-class metropolis, Montréal is ICAO’s natural home.

Canada has one of the largest civil aviation systems in the world, with flights to many international destinations. Montréal and its surrounding region hosts world-class airline research companies, manufacturers and innovators, and the second-largest density of aerospace jobs in the world. The province of Quebec has more than 13,000 aerospace engineers and scientists. As a result, ICAO benefits directly from working with the world’s leading aerospace industry experts located in Montréal and elsewhere in the province of Quebec.

On May 27, 2013, the Government of Canada, Province of Quebec and City of Montréal welcomed the signature of the ICAO Secretary General with Canada on a Supplementary Headquarters Agreement that will keep its headquarters in Montréal for an additional 20 years beyond 2016.

The Government of Canada takes its host country responsibilities seriously and is actively involved at ICAO to make sure Canada’s aviation interests and positions are represented on the international stage. All three governments have listened carefully to ICAO’s membership about their needs and about how, as hosts, we can best support the effectiveness of this organization.

To that end, Canada is contributing $1.4 million to modernize ICAO conference facilities and to purchase additional security equipment ahead of this fall’s Assembly. In addition, we will provide ICAO with enhanced services in the following areas:

  • improved accreditation service standards aimed at decreasing wait times;
  • new and improved identification for consuls general who carry out responsibilities as their country’s permanent representative to ICAO;
  • improved visa services by deploying a citizenship and immigration officer to the Canadian delegation at ICAO;
  • an expanded suite of courtesies at Montréal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport;
  • an annual ministerial-level meeting with ICAO senior management; and
  • an invigorated outreach program to include representatives accredited to ICAO.

The Government of Quebec, in addition to its 1994 agreement on the benefits and courtesy privileges to be extended to the Organization as long as it stays in Montréal, has also agreed to assume, until 2026, the administrative costs of the IACO premises devoted to the technical cooperation—a $15-million investment.

As well, the Government of Quebec is currently reviewing the administrative facilities it offers to ICAO, for example in education, higher education and vehicle registration, in order to find ways to improve its service offering to the Organization and its member states.

Team Montréal successfully brought together political leaders and officials from all three levels of government in Canada, along with other stakeholders, to work in common cause to ensure that ICAO remained in Montréal. With the Supplementary Agreement now signed and this matter behind us, ICAO can get back to the business at hand: making a practical difference in the lives of billions of air passengers by improving the safety and security of air travel and helping international aviation link communities open new markets and spur economic growth.

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