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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez

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BMO: Workplace Optimism on the Rise Among Canada's Labour Force

- Four-in-ten employees expect the size of their workforce to increase this year

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 01/14/14 -- According to a BMO Commercial Banking survey released today, the Canadian workforce is optimistic about the year ahead. Workers across Canada were polled on what they expect their company will do in 2014 for hiring and training employees, investing in new equipment and technology, and creating an increasingly more mobile workforce.

The survey, conducted by Pollara, found:


--  Workers across Canada are optimistic about their company's outlook for
    the year, with twice as many expecting they will increase rather than
    decrease the size of their workforce (43 per cent vs. 21 per cent).
--  Employees rate hiring and training as a higher priority than upgrading
    or purchasing new equipment and technology (44 per cent vs. 41 per
    cent). However, a recent BMO survey of business owners found their
    priorities are reversed, with 26 per cent planning to invest in
    equipment/technology compared 19 per cent who plan to invest in employee
    hiring and training.
--  Those in Atlantic Canada are the most likely to expect their company to
    hire more employees in 2014 (47 per cent).

"In an economic climate of remarkably low interest rates, a lower Canadian dollar and an improving U.S. economy, business owners are well-positioned to keep and attract new investments on this side of the border," said Steve Murphy, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking, BMO Financial Group. "The opportunity to invest in businesses, whether through higher wages or improved equipment, has the potential to lead to strong longer-term growth."

Mobile Workforce

The majority (56 per cent) of Canadians work at a company that offers telecommuting, up from 44 per cent in 2013. Over one-in-three (36 per cent) take advantage of this opportunity, including 53 per cent of workers under 35.

However, many business owners are still leery of taking the telecommuting plunge. While over two-thirds of workers report mobile workforces have a positive impact on morale (77 per cent), productivity (70 per cent) and the quality of work (69 per cent), a BMO survey of business owners earlier this year.identified decreased morale and productivity as the primary reasons business owners do not offer telecommuting.

Regional Breakdown: Employee Expectations


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Overall Atlantic Quebec Ontario Prairies Alberta  B.C.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hire more employees       43%      47%    39%     39%      46%     46%   39%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reduce staff              21%      16%    21%     19%      18%     19%   28%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regional Breakdown: Telecommuting


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Overall Atlantic Quebec Ontario Prairies Alberta  B.C.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Companies who offer
 telecommuting            56%      59%    55%     67%      42%     49%   43%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Telecommuting has
 positive impact on
 employee morale          77%      81%    79%     80%      73%     74%   68%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Telecommuting has
 positive impact on
 productivity             70%      73%    71%     74%      69%     66%   61%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Telecommuting has
 positive impact on
 quality of work          69%      73%    70%     72%      64%     63%   66%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Pollara survey was completed between December 23, 2013 and January 3, 2014, with an online sample of 1,004 Canadians. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

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

Contacts:
Media Contacts:
Russell Baker, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
[email protected]

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224
[email protected]

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596
[email protected]

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia

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