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Concordia added $2B to Quebec’s economy in 2022, a new economic assessment finds

The university-commissioned study reveals students from other provinces and outside Canada helped bring $176M to the province
May 1, 2024
City building in the downtown urban area
Graham Carr: “This assessment puts a dollar figure — a very significant one — on what we’ve long known.”

A newly released assessment prepared by an independent firm concludes that Concordia generated nearly $2 billion in value added to the economies of Montreal and Quebec in 2022. The report, Economic Impact Assessment of Concordia University, noted that the university’s contribution is three times greater than its annual operating expenditures.

“This assessment puts a dollar figure — a very significant one — on what we’ve long known: that Concordia alumni, researchers and students as well as the university itself provide our local economy with a major, quantifiable economic benefit,” says Concordia President Graham Carr.

“The financial gain includes about $176 million from students, their families and other visitors who came to our university from outside Quebec. This is in addition to the unquantifiable contribution our faculty makes through research or creative output, and what students bring to Montreal’s vibrancy and attractiveness.”

Commissioned by Concordia, the new study follows last year’s report by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (la Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, CCMM), which reaffirmed higher education’s significant economic benefit to the city.

Economic Impact Assessment of Concordia University details Concordia’s 2022 economic impact in Quebec by focusing on three main areas:

  • $925 million in human capital enhancement — increased productivity — through the university’s 179,000 graduates working in the province
  • $301 million through research conducted and disseminated by Concordia
  • $763 million spent by Concordia as well as its students and visitors from outside Quebec

“Beyond dollars and cents, we can’t forget that Concordia’s nearly 180,000 alumni also make an extraordinary impact on Quebec — as leaders, scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, educators and much more — that is independent of their contributions as taxpayers and consumers,” adds Carr.  

The methodology used to measure human capital enhancement and quantify the value of research creation is based on a 2008 study of the economic impact of Canadian universities by Fernand Martin, an economics professor at Université de Montréal. SECOR used the same methodology in its 2011 study, Concordia: An economic force connected to its community, as did a number of other researchers.

The study gauged how Concordia’s spending added value to the Quebec economy:

  • $789.6 million in operating and investment expenditures
  • $169.1 million in spending by Concordia students from outside Quebec
  • $6.7 million in spending by business visitors and students’ friends and families coming from outside the province to attend events or participate in other activities at Concordia

The assessment outlined that, through this spending, Concordia directly and indirectly supported 6,154 full-time jobs in Quebec in 2022, which includes both employees of the university as well as jobs that respond to demands for goods and services from its students and visitors. Furthermore, the university’s activities generated $148.8 million in gross revenues for the governments of Quebec and Canada.

The report also pointed to the economic benefit of Concordia’s District 3 Innovation Hub. In 2022, 171 startups participated in one of District 3’s programs, employing 337 people, raising $32.5 million and registering $6.9 million in sales.

A large part of its activity was in social innovation, at 36.3 per cent, and high tech, at 31.6 per cent.

Outside contribution

The study attributed much of the $176 million outlaid by students and others from outside Quebec on such things as housing, food and transportation.

“Students who come to our university from elsewhere don’t just study, attend classes, eat and sleep,” says Kelly Collins, manager of Concordia’s International Students Office.

“They buy cell phones and plans, take in entertainment, purchase clothes, computers and other items, and go on vacations elsewhere in Quebec, for instance. They often do so with their visiting friends and family,” she adds.

“That’s over and above the energy, flavour, culture and diversity they bring to our school, city and province. It’s hard to put a price on that.”

Learn more about
Concordia’s International Students Office.

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