Montreal cuts funding for nightlife advocacy group MTL 24/24 despite plans to revitalise sector

Montreal's local government has cut off funding for nightlife advocacy group MTL 24/24.

News of the funding cut was confirmed by the not-for-profit organisation this month, and has led to the group having to lay off employees and terminate existing contracts with freelancers. The conference Montreal Night Summit, which had been due to take place in May and feature lectures by various local and international nightlife experts, has also now been cancelled due to insufficient funds.

A small rally went ahead outside Montreal City Hall on 22nd January in protest of the government's decision to remove funding from MTL 24/24. The move also comes after a number of festivals in the city joined together last year to share an open letter to the government requesting further financial support.

MTL 24/24 seeks to work with Montreal's government officials in order to promote the economic and cultural value of nightlife for the city. Its mission, established at the launch of the organisation, is to "enhance the development of our city by introducing the night as a new frontier for innovation", according to a note on its website.

The decision to cut funding to MTL 24/24 has been made despite city officials having thrown their support behind the group's plans for a 24-hour nightlife zone earlier this month. An announcement that the city wanted to create such a zone was made by Luc Rabouin, chair of the city's Executive Committee, during a council meeting. Officials confirmed at the time that such an area would be close to downtown, and adjustments to existing bylaws would be unveiled early this year. These would include changes to regulations around music and noise. A trial 24-hour event is still scheduled to take place in February.

CTV News Montreal reports that City of Montreal spokesperson Catherine Cadotte said officials will continue to support nightlife and consider it "an undeniable economic driver."

She continued: "The city is working with a number of partners in the community to make its nightlife policy a success, and informed MTL 24/24 several months ago that funding for 2024 will be determined following the tabling of the policy, which will take place in the next few weeks, according to the priorities identified during the consultation. In the meantime, our administration is actively working on the deployment of an ambitious nightlife strategy and will continue to support events on its territory."

However, in an interview with Resident AdvisorMathieu Grondin, director general of MTL 24/24, said the move show "a lack of consideration for all the work we have accomplished over the past three years. The cancellation of the 2024 Night Summit will damage the international credibility of the city of Montreal."

MTL 24/24 has now been invited to refile its funding application, with a new decision around financial allocations set to be made soon by the local government.