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REPEAT: BMO Poll Shows Working Canadians More Optimistic

REPEAT: BMO Poll Shows Working Canadians More Optimistic About Investments in Their Workplace For 2013

- Poll of Canadian workers reveals their expectations for companies investing in training and development, technology and new equipment, and hiring

- Optimism up in all provinces: Alberta and British Columbia lead the way with the most optimism; Atlantic Canada and Ontario show biggest increase

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/14/13 -- A new poll released today by BMO Bank of Montreal reveals that working Canadians are more optimistic than they were this time last year about employers' investments in the workplace.

The survey, conducted by Pollara, indicates 42 per cent of the Canadian workforce expects employee training and development programs to be offered by their employer this year - up 24 percentage points from last year. Additionally, 38 percent believe their employers will hire more in 2013 - up 21 percentage points from 2012. This increased optimism can also be seen with the 45 per cent that expect their employer to make investments in new equipment and technology - up 25 percentage points from last year.

Regionally, Albertans are the most likely to say that their employer will be hiring more people in the coming year (52 per cent), and are among the most likely to say that they will be investing in training (55 per cent) and purchasing new equipment (55 per cent).

The greatest increase in employee optimism comes from Atlantic Canada:

--  38 per cent expect more hiring - up from 6 per cent in 2012 
--  38 per cent believe employer will invest in training - up 21 percentage
--  47 per cent expect employer to upgrade technology/equipment - up 34
    percentage points from 2012

Employee Expectations for 2013

                             NATIONAL                REGIONAL               
                             For   For                                      
                            2013  2012   ATL    QC    ON  MB/SK    AB    BC 
Hire More Employees           38% 
  17%   38%   27%   40%    42%   52%   40%
Employee Training             42%   18%   38%   35%   44%    43%   55%   40%
New Equipment & Technology    45%   20%   47%   39%   46%    47%   55%   42%

"Canadian companies are making strategic investments to upgrade technology and processes, open up new markets, and invest in people," said Steve Murphy, Senior Vice President, BMO Commercial Banking. "Businesses are looking to become as productive as possible, and that may mean taking advantage of historically low interest rates to finance their growth plans and upgrade their talent pool."

"Even though the Canadian economy overall has slowed, employment remains healthy and the unemployment rate has come down," said Douglas Porter, Deputy Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "In recent months, the unemployment rate hit its lowest level in four years at just over 7 per cent, and may well fall further later this year."

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 $525 billion as at October 31, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions. Contacts: Media Contacts: Paul Cunliffe, Toronto (416) 867-3996

Valerie Doucet, Montreal (514) 877-8224

Laurie Grant, Vancouver (604) 665-7596

Internet: Twitter: @BMOmedia

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