A new report about the relative ease of entrepreneurial activity across Canada has Montreal in last place among the country's urban centres for the second year in a row. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business/Financial Post 2015 Entrepreneurial City Rankings paints a dire picture for anyone who wants to do business in the city, and strongly hints that red tape, and onerous taxes are the culprits. "Small business owners [in Montreal] are clearly saying enough is enough. It’s time for a change, it’s time for some breathing room," a CFIB senior economist told the Financial Post.
To help butress the report's conclusion that Montreal is a quagmire for small business owners, the newspaper turned to an easy target for anecdotal evidence: a restaurant owner. The restaurateur in this case, Eric Jolander, of Ahuntsic's ÜBER Cafbar, Les Incorruptibles, and L'Alexia, grumbled to the FP that bureaucrats inexplicably held up his terrasse permit for ÜBER for months, charged him for a mandatory water meter, and forced him to hire a private garbage collector. "I have a profound attachment to Montreal. But more and more, I ask myself if I would do it again and I have doubts."
Jolander is not alone, of course. Over the past year, permit problems, and other snafus, have troubled many Montreal restaurants, from Chez Alexandre to a Frite Alors! outlet to Mile End's Bar Waverly. In other cases, alleged incompetence by the city prompted restaurateurs to close for good (Thai Grill), or sell (Le P'tit Plateau). New, anticipated restaurants on the horizon, like Arcade Fire's Agrikol, have faced long construction and permit delays. Then, of course, there's the infamous case of Buonanotte, whose partners could write a book about their run-ins with Montreal officials. You can check out the rest of the FP article, entitled "Why Montreal is the absolute worst place in Canada to run a business", here.