Mont-Saint-Hilaire Named Canada’s 26th Fair Trade Town

May 7th, 2018 | Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec. The Town of Mont-Saint-Hilaire is proud to announce that it has been officially recognized as a Fair Trade Town by Fairtrade Canada, in partnership with the Association québécoise du commerce équitable. 

At the regular council meeting held on May 7, the mayor and municipal councillors approved the city of Mont-Saint-Hilaire Fair Trade status designated by Fairtrade Canada and Canadian Fair Trade Network in partnership with the Association québécoise du commerce équitable. In doing so, the City is committed to promoting fair trade at the local level.

Yves Corriveau, Mayor of Mont-Saint-Hilaire testified: "It is with great pride that we receive the status of Fair Trade Town. The young people involved in the committee showed a great deal of rigor and perseverance in their approach. The concept of fair trade is still unknown in Quebec. By persuasion, they have rallied many Hilairemontais to their cause. Being so influenced by young people motivated to preserve our world and make it better is inspiring. I congratulate them and I encourage everyone to discover the fair trade products sold in our town."

The Fair Trade Town designation is the result of a collective effort undertaken in the spring of 2016 at the initiative of Oxfam-Québec's Magasin du monde members at Ozias-Leduc High School, one of 18 Fair Trade Schools in Canada. The students involved in this project then asked the elected officials. Touched by the commitment and perseverance of the young people, and inspired by this cause, the members of the municipal council supported them throughout the process.

First step: the creation, as of November 7, 2016, of a Mont-Saint-Hilaire Fair Trade Town committee, made up of high school students, citizens and a municipal representative. The first mandate of the committee was to improve the supply of fair trade products in Mont-Saint-Hilaire. More than 80 different fair trade products have been identified in 6 shops and 3 local restaurants, which meet the requirements for a city of 18,000 inhabitants. Subsequently, several organizations were asked to support the initiative and affirm their commitment to fair trade. No fewer than 11 letters of support were collected by the committee.

Émile Chapdelaine, a member of the Mont-Saint-Hilaire Fair Trade Town Committee and a member of the Ozias-Leduc High School's Magasin du monde explains: "The most beautiful thing in all of this is the listening that Mr. Corriveau and the council members have demonstrated with respect to our initiative. At first, I was afraid that the idea was not taken seriously because it came from young students. However, it turned out that our politicians heard our idea as seriously as needed. The work we have done on the Mont-St-Hilaire Fair Trade Town Committee is fueling my desire to influence the world in which I live, since I have proof that when you work on it, it is possible! "

Fairtrade Canada's Executive Director Julie Francoeur comments that she is "thrilled to see the growth of fair trade here, starting with a Fair Trade School and now, having their town designated as Fair Trade". She add, "Thank you for demanding a fairer deal for the 1.66 million Fairtrade producers in the Global South. Congratulations! "

Under the influence of the committee, the 2018 edition of Plaisirs d'hiver, an annual family event organized by the city of Mont-Saint-Hilaire received the Fair Trade Event designation, offering hot chocolate, coffee and biscuits from fair trade sugar and fair trade chocolate chips.

In addition, the city has amended its purchasing policy to include the requirements of the Fair Trade Town designation. Consumer goods such as coffee, tea and sugar used at City Hall are fair trade certified by Fairtrade Canada.

Loic de Fabritus, Project Manager at the Association québécoise du commerce equitable stated that "It is a great honor to see Mont-Saint-Hilaire become Canada’s 26th Fair Trade Town in Canada and 10th in Quebec. After obtaining fair trade designation for their high school, youth in the community wanted to become more involved in the campaign and encouraged their elected representatives to commit to sustainable modes of consumption and education. Congratulations for your accomplishment! "

The Executive Director of Canadian Fair Trade Network Sean McHugh added: "Mont-Saint-Hilaire’s commitment to fair trade and its campaign to become a Fair Trade Town has been nothing short of inspiring. There is no better time to celebrate Canada’s 26th Fair Trade Town than during Fairtrade Month! We look forward to working together in the months and years ahead."

In order to continue to raise the community's awareness of fair trade, the committee has set up a Facebook page. The Hilairemontais are invited to subscribe.

In order to celebrate the obtaining of the Fair Trade Town designation for Mont-Saint-Hilaire, members of the Mont-Saint-Hilaire Ville Fair Trade committee will meet at the Hilairemontais on June 14, in the evening, at the Isaac Vandandaigue Pavilion. The details will be published on Facebook.