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BMO Financial Group Donation to Benefit Birthing Mothers, Babies at IWK

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA -- (Marketwired) -- 12/17/13 -- BMO Financial Group announced today it will donate $500,000 to the development of an updated, state-of-the-art Early Labour and Assessment Unit (ELAU) at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

"BMO Financial Group recognizes and supports the vital role that hospitals play in sustaining healthy communities, which are the foundation of a strong society," said Carolyn Booth, Senior Vice-President, Atlantic Provinces Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. "The ELAU at the IWK Health Centre will provide women with exceptional care and services during labour and delivery - a wonderfully exciting time for expecting mothers and their families," added Mrs. Booth.

"Early labour and assessment at the IWK represents a pivotal part of the pregnancy journey - in particular, the labour and delivery experience - for thousands of women and their families each year," said Anne McGuire, President and CEO of the IWK Health Centre. "Today's gift from BMO will significantly help us further our reputation for excellence in care, and we are very grateful."

The redevelopment of the ELAU is a priority for the IWK's women's facility, where about 5,000 babies are born each year. ELAU's current assessment space includes only four rooms, and creates multiple care and patient flow challenges as the area is often overflowing. The new unit will be located near the main women's entrance and consist of a triage area, private rooms and a common comfortable lounge area for pregnant women and their support person.

"Our future unit will allow us to provide the best care in a much more appropriate space," says Michelle LeDrew, Director, Women's and Newborn Health at the IWK. "BMO's donation will allow us to create a soothing environment enabling supportive labour practices. It's an exciting step forward for pregnant women and their families."

BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group (TSX: BMO)(NYSE: BMO) is a highly diversified financial services organization. With total assets of $537 billion as of October 31, 2013, and more than 45,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

IWK Health Centre

The IWK Health Centre is the region's leading health centre providing specialized, quality care to women, children, youth and families in the Maritimes and beyond. In addition to providing highly specialized (tertiary) care, the IWK also provides primary care services. The IWK is also engaged in leading-edge research; works to promote healthy lifestyles for families; and as an academic health centre provides education opportunities for health professionals and other learners. Visit www.iwk.nshealth.ca for more information.

IWK Health Centre Foundation

The IWK Health Centre Foundation helps sustain excellence in specialized care at the IWK for all Maritime families. Last year our generous donors contributed over $16 million to the areas of greatest need at the IWK, including neonatal and pediatric intensive care, women's health and mental health services for children and youth. Funds raised also support world-renowned researchers and the purchase of modernized technology and equipment. Visit www.iwkfoundation.org for more information.

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