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BMO 2014 Volunteer Day Study: 95 Per Cent of Canadians Believe Volunteering Has Positive Impact on the Economy

- According to the most recent industry data, time spent volunteering in 2010 was equivalent to more than 1 million full-time jobs

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/03/14 -- The vast majority of Canadians believe volunteering has various positive economic impacts on the economy - and the latest industry data appears to support that notion, according to a new study released today by BMO Financial Group.

The study, designed to provide a snapshot of volunteerism in Canada, was released ahead of BMO Volunteer Day, a company-wide initiative that will involve thousands of employees volunteering in approximately 400 projects in communities across North America.

Conducted by Pollara, the study found:

--  95 per cent of Canadians believe volunteering contributes to the economy
--  In fact, according to the most recent industry data, Canadians
    contributed approximately 2 billion hours of their time to volunteering
    in 2010 - equivalent to more than 1 million full-time jobs and 5 per
    cent of total labour compensation
--  Of those who believe there is an impact, more than half believe
    volunteering helps improve social cohesion and socio-economic outcomes
    in communities (53 per cent)
--  Another 51 per cent say volunteering can help people learn skills for
    future work

According to the study, the majority of Canadians (61 per cent) have volunteered in the past 12 months; spending an average of 18.7 hours per month. Of that group, Canada's millennial generation is leading the charge; 69 per cent of this group volunteered in the past year, out-pacing the national average by 13 per cent.

Eric Tripp, President, BMO Capital Markets, noted that there are many cases to be made for increasing volunteerism in Canada.

"The act of volunteering is a win-win for everyone involved, as it creates a sense of purpose for those giving back, while strengthening multiple facets of the communities in which we all work and live," said Mr. Tripp. "As a community bank, BMO is part of the fabric of cities and regions across our footprint and beyond, and we have a key interest and a responsibility in ensuring they continue to thrive. It's what we owe."

According to the study, corporate culture can have a meaningful impact for increasing engagement among Canadians. In fact, one quarter of Canadians say they would be more likely to volunteer if their employer did more to encourage them to do so, such as offering a day off for volunteering (26 per cent).

Mr. Tripp added that BMO's longstanding history of giving back is driven by the efforts of BMO employees, who are encouraged to volunteer their resources, time and talents throughout the year.

"Corporate Canada has the responsibility and the resources to make positive contributions to society at large, including the development of projects and initiatives that will improve the communities in which they do business," commented Mr. Tripp. "One way to do this is by mobilizing their workforce and encouraging employees to get involved."

BMO Volunteer Day

BMO Volunteer Day is a legacy of BMO Harris Bank in the United States which launched the event in 2001. In recent years, the initiative has expanded to include all of BMO Financial Group across North America.

This year BMO Volunteer Day will take place on June 4th and will encompass approximately 400 projects in communities across Canada and the U.S., including children and youth organizations, elder care, food banks, community housing and health care facilities, family resource centres, parks and recreational facilities, relief organizations and homeless shelters. Thousands of BMO employees are expected to participate this year.

Results are from a survey which was conducted by Pollara between May 19th and 20th, 2014 with an online sample of 1,012 adult Canadians. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

For more information on BMO Volunteer Day, please visit: www.bmo.com/home/about/banking/corporate-responsibility/community/volunteer-day.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services organization based in North America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had total assets of $582 billion and more than 45,500 employees at April 30, 2014.

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