Showing posts with label Atlantic Canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Atlantic Canada. Show all posts

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Atlantic Canada Looks for Immigrants

Four provinces in Canada’s east coast, commonly known as the Atlantic Provinces, have launched major initiatives to boost immigration.
As part of the strategy, the Premiers (who are the elected leaders of the provinces in Canada) of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island (PEI) want to talk to Canada’s federal government about relaxing the cap on the so-called Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
The PNP allows individual provinces and territories to select their own immigrants based on the needs of that particular province or territory. The federal government, through the department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), together with a province or territory imposes a cap for every year for PNP immigration.
According to CIC, the national quota for PNP for this year is between 17,500 and 18,800 principle applicants.
But the PNP annual quota differs from province to province and some officials from the Atlantic provinces have been unhappy about that. They point out that New Brunswick, for example, has a population of 750,000 and is allocated a PNP cap of 625 every year while Manitoba, in the west, is allowed 5,000 under the PNP for a population of 1.2 million.
It is not clear, though, how many immigrants the four provinces want to bring under the PNP.
Attracting new immigrants has become critical for many of Canada’s provinces and territories. It is even more critical for the Atlantic provinces for four key reasons: keep population growing, keep pace with the developments in rest of Canada in terms of immigration, attract people with knowledge and attract fresh cash.
As one observer put it, the general population trend of Atlantic Canada is old, white and declining while in provinces like Ontario, British Columbia it is young, multicultural and growing.
Some of the provinces have already launched separate programs to boost immigration. For example, earlier this month, Nova Scotia launched an ambitious program to double its annual immigrant intake, to reach 7,200 immigrants by 2020, and part of the plan is to increase the PNP from the current 500 to 1,500.
One of the challenges faced by region is that many of the immigrants who move there do not remain there; they emigrate within Canada, mostly to major hubs such as Ontario or British Columbia after a few years.
But this might be changing. One study done by the St Mary’s University in Halifax, in Nova Scotia, found out that while 54 percent of the immigrants who had moved to the Atlantic region during the five years ending in 2001 were still in the region, this had gone up to 65 percent by 2006. Nova Scotia, in its new immigration strategy, plans to increase the retention rate to seventy percent.
Officials from the region say that immigrants generally fare better there, than in the major hubs. Some studies do show immigrants moving to the Atlantic provinces tend to get jobs appropriate to their professions faster and also earn more than immigrants moving to provinces such as Ontario.
Links to Atlantic Canadian Provincial Immigration Sites:

Immigrants staying in Atlantic Canada: study

Saint Mary's University, main entranceImage via WikipediaNew research indicates immigrants are no longer using the Atlantic provinces merely as an entry point to Canada but are making the region a long-term home.
A study of Statistics Canada information at Saint Mary's University in Halifax found newcomers who settle in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island fare better than people who settle in traditional immigration hubs such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
The East Coast immigrants are more likely to have work and earn more than recent immigrants in Ontario, the study found.
Dr. Ather Akbari, an economics professor at St. Mary's University who was involved in the research, said the Atlantic provinces are more likely to see immigrants who have been targeted for specific jobs, than immigrants who simply choose this part of Canada for a new life.
"People who come here, because they are intended to fill in specific jobs, chances are that they will get fair market value for their work, [better] than in other provinces."
The Atlantic provinces tend to recruit professionals to staff hospitals and similar high value positions, while immigrants who aren't targeted in this way tend to go to Ontario, primarily to join their families.

Good jobs means people stay

Once living on the East Coast and holding good jobs, an increasing number of immigrants decide to stick around rather than take the traditional path west, Akbari said. In fact, more immigrants are now trying Toronto first and then moving to Atlantic Canada than the reverse.
In 2001, about 54 per cent of immigrants who arrived in the Atlantic provinces in the previous five years were still in the region. This figure had risen to about 65 per cent by 2006, Akbari said.
At a meeting of the Association for New Canadians on Friday in Newfoundland, a class full of newcomers shared stories and discussed settling into a new country.
Natalia Volkozha moved to Canada from Israel with her family a decade ago. They tried to settle in Montreal, but it did not work out. She heard good stories about life in Newfoundland and so she and her family moved to the island.
Her background in education gave her a foot in the door as a daycare teacher. Eight years later, she is a few months away from completing her master's degree in education.
"We are planning to stay here," she said. "We are new homeowners so I have roots, growing roots here."
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Panel ponders how to strengthen region's economy

Map highlighting Atlantic CanadaImage via WikipediaThe economic future of Atlantic Canada may depend on developing a brand, according to the president of the University of Prince Edward Island.
"That question of brand is really critical," Wade MacLauchlan said during a panel discussion in St. Andrews on Friday. "It takes us to the question of how do we think about ourselves and what our expectations are, and what we think we have that is a basis for having competitive excellence in the world."
The P.E.I. mussels are one brand that has worked for the region, said MacLauchlan during a discussion on the economic future of Atlantic Canada. The session was part of a three-day Ideas Festival conference, hosted by the Fredericton-based 21inc. and Ottawa's Public Policy Forum.
MacLauchlan noted that P.E.I. mussels show up on menus across the world, and food could be a potential area where the region can achieve global excellence.
"The good news is that we already have global players here that are showing us how to do that," said MacLauchlan, referring to the international success of the region's food companies such as McCain Foods Ltd. and Oxford Frozen Foods.
The economic future of Atlantic Canada could also lie in increasing the international export of food, said Karen Oldfield, the president and CEO of the Halifax Port Authority.
During the panel, Oldfield told the audience of a pilot project recently completed by her port.
In collaboration with CN Rail and a Montreal-based container company, the port authority transported grains products from Saskatchewan to Halifax, and then shipped that grain to overseas markets looking for Canadian goods. With Atlantic provinces now growing plenty of crops, such systems can allow for the export of these products to the world.
"This is a true Atlantic success story - we are taking soybean product from P.E.I., we are taking soybean product from Nova Scotia, and we are creating a whole new market for a whole new product. It's going to be one of the products for the future - food."
During the session, Oldfield also touched upon the immigration, and the need for Atlantic Canada to create a more welcoming environment for immigrants. She said Atlantic Canada is not doing enough to integrate immigrants into communities.
"It's easier to be a global business when you can draw upon the experience of your own workforce to help you to understand a particular market or culture," said Oldfield, speaking to the value of employees coming from abroad.
While the panel focused on the future of the region, Monique Collette, the senior advisor to the privy council office in Ottawa, spoke to the past success of the region.
Collette said one of the assets of Atlantic Canada is the ability of the region to bounce back. While Ontario continues to struggle with the breakdown of the manufacturing industry, Collette noted that Atlantic Canada is doing relatively well in recovering from the recession.
"We are a very resilient people, and resiliency is not given to everybody," Collette said.
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Nova Scotia hoping to attract more immigrants

Hants County, Nova ScotiaImage via WikipediaNova Scotia officials want to lift immigration caps for the province in order to attract more skilled newcomers but face opposition from the federal government even though Immigration Minister Jason Kenney does agree more newcomers may resolve the province's labour shortage.

"I think it’s admirable that Nova Scotia is focused on growing its population," said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney according to the Chronicle Herald. "Immigration is part of the solution to the challenge of shrinking population in general and in Atlantic Canada in particular."

The eastern province has a rapidly shrinking population and therefore has been a keen supporter of newcomers moving to the province. In the past decade, officials have spent millions of dollars trying to persuade immigrants to relocate to Nova Scotia under the provincial nominee program and increased spending for settlement programs.

Last year 2,2424 immigrants moved to Nova Scotia and officials would like to see that increase to 7,200 each year by 2020. However, in order to do that they need the federal government to remove cap restrictions on immigration. A notion that minister Jason Kenney isn’t too keen to do just yet citing growing needs by other areas in Canada.

"In general it’s a positive goal, but every province needs to remember we need to work together in the federation," he said. "We can’t have 10 provinces arbitrarily setting their own goals, because ultimately there’s one pipeline for immigration, if you will, and that runs through the government of Canada, through my ministry."

The provincial nominee program gives newcomers the opportunity to work in positions that are unfilled by Canadians.
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Atlantic Canada's incredible shrinking population

Map highlighting Atlantic CanadaImage via WikipediaThe Globe & Mail is running a series called "Canada: Our Time to Lead. Eight Discussions We Need to Have" saying "We hope, and intend, for this discussion to strike at the heart of how Canadians define ourselves, and our nation." The eight discussions that will help us define ourselves, according to the Globe, are: multiculturalism, women in power, failing boys, military, work-life, health care, Internet and food.
If we are looking to "strike at the heart of how we define the nation," I suggest we start a ninth discussion. It may not be top of mind in Toronto but I think it has much more potential to shape our collective concept of Canada - for better or worse - over the next few decades.
I am referring to the hollowing out of Atlantic Canada's population and its eventual impacts. We could also add Manitoba and even Quebec to the discussion because some of the challenges are the same but for simplicity I will stick to the Atlantic Canada problem.
There is an unprecedented demographic shift happening in the region. In the early 1970s, the population was growing at a fairly strong rate driven by natural population increases, net in-migration and at least a limited level of immigration.
Then something happened.
First, the limited immigration to Atlantic Canada mostly dried up (particularly as a share of national immigration). From 1990 to 2009, Canada welcomed more than four million new immigrants to the country - the largest swell of immigrant population in history. During that same period, New Brunswick, as an example, attracted an average of just more than 900 new immigrants per year.
Second, net in-migration into Atlantic Canada turned to net out-migration. From 1971 to 1976, the four Atlantic provinces combined had a positive migration from the rest of Canada of nearly 30,000 people. To be clear, that is 30,000 (net) people moving to Atlantic Canada from the rest of Canada. In the most current five year period (2005-2009), there was a net out-migration of 36,000 people from Atlantic Canada. That is a 66,000 swing comparing a five year period in the early 1970s to the late 2000s (or just about the population of the City of Moncton).
When you combine these trends with the declining birth rate you end up with regional population decline. Since 1990, Canada added more than six million people to its population while Atlantic Canada has shed 21,000.
There has been some limited positive activity on the immigration front in the past couple of years but the long term trend is unmistakable.
The regional demographic mix in Canada is diverging. The population of Atlantic Canada is comparatively old, white and declining. The population of the rest of Canada - particularly the large urban centres - is younger, multicultural and growing rapidly.
The implications of this demographic shift are starting to emerge with economic, community and fiscal consequences. We've seen what can happen to a city that suffers from chronic population loss but what about when it happens to an entire region such as Atlantic Canada? How do we continue to pay for public services? How do we support a positive economic development agenda?
People grumble about the balance of power now. At least most of the current political and bureaucratic decision makers in Ottawa have a limited affinity toward or knowledge of Atlantic Canada. By 2030 it is likely most MPs in Ottawa will have never even visited this region.
This issue may not reach the Globe & Mail's threshold for warranting a discussion, compared to the urgent topic of Torontonian work-life balance, but someone needs to start talking about it.
David Campbell is an economic development consultant based in Moncton. He writes a daily blog, It's the Economy Stupid, at

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Province wants immigrants

Newfoundland and Labrador logoImage via WikipediaCompared with other provinces in Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador is experiencing greater difficulty attracting immigrants. The provincial government’s Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism is looking to get communities in on the effort, including Gander.
Topics :
Statistics Canada , Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism , Newfoundland and Labrador , Canada , Nova Scotia
Jamie Valvasori, the central region’s representative for the office, met with the Town’s economic and social development committee on Aug. 23 to speak about efforts to retain immigrants in the area.
According to notes from the meeting, Mr. Valvasori said the province is attracting many professionals who choose to move to larger centres. His office is now working on ways to make communities more welcoming to immigrants faced with living in a new place.
The Town has committed to working with his office on hosting a three-day workshop focusing on creating a welcoming community through specific initiatives.
According to Statistics Canada, 565 immigrants came to Canada from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. In the same time frame, the remaining three Atlantic Provinces welcomed many more immigrants. Nova Scotia attracted the most with 2,377, while New Brunswick welcomed 1,922 immigrants. Even Prince Edward Island, with almost one-quarter the population of Newfoundland and Labrador, managed to attract more immigrants – 1,793.
“While the numbers may be lower than other Atlantic provinces, we believe we’re seeing great progress.” - Minister Susan Sullivan
Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, said she could not speak to the approach those provinces are taking.
“We’ve chosen to focus on skilled individuals who will make an economic, social, and cultural contribution to the province,” said Minister Sullivan. “We’re looking for people who are able to make that contribution and also people who have demonstrated a strong interest in staying in the province, and we think this approach will serve the immigrants and our province well.”
A major component of that approach is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which seeks to recruits immigrants with specialized skills that are also in demand. The minister said 53 per cent of immigrants that came through the program are living in St. John’s.
Numbers up
Since 2007, Minister Sullivan said immigration numbers have been increasing, moving from an average of 400 per year to over 600 in 2009 – with 700 expected in 2010.
“While the numbers may be lower than other Atlantic provinces, we believe we’re seeing great progress,” she said.
A Statistics Canada publication from February 2010 found Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest match rates in Canada for foreign-educated immigrants working in the field they were trained for at 60 per cent. Nova Scotia placed second in Canada with 40 per cent, while Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick were tied at fourth with 37 per cent. The Canadian average was 33 per cent for data collected in the 2006 Canadian census.
Minister Sullivan said this shows the province is a good option for immigrants looking to work in their chosen profession.
Rather than offer specific selling points as a province, she said the Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism is using immigrants already here to sell Newfoundland and Labrador to others who may consider making a move. Its website currently offers video testimonials.
“They’re really inspiring examples of why it is that people have chosen to come and then decide to stay here,” said the minister.
She said a low population density constitutes a major attraction for foreigners coming to Newfoundland and Labrador, as many only have experience living in crowded cities. The videos also show people extolling the virtues of living in a place with a lower crime rate.
The efforts to create welcoming communities is being spearheaded by employees at the regional offices, said Minister Sullivan, as becoming a part of the community goes a long way in ensuring an immigrant will stay in an area.
“The workshops engage key stakeholders in the community who have an interest in the topic,” she said, adding the Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism has already held a number of successful ones in other areas.
“What we’re learning form them is the stakeholders who’ve taken the opportunity to go and participate have all reported that these have exceptionally helped them in terms of understanding the immigration process, and helping those who come to settle into their communities.”
By Andrew Robinson
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