“I don’t think it’s overly dramatic to say the future of Atlantic Canada is at stake,” Frank McKenna told a crowd of business leaders and academics at the Public Policy Forum annual dinner in Fredericton.
Frank McKenna, the the deputy chairman of the TD Bank Group, said the region had eventually come to the realisation that the ageing population combined with young people looking for jobs outside of the Atlantic provinces will be problematic for the area’s economic health in a few years’ time. But the recently signed Atlantic Immigration Pilot stream is a huge step in the right direction. .
Herb Emery, the Vaughan Chair in Regional Economics at the University of New Brunswick, said attracting and retaining immigrants will require greater capital investments from companies.
“Investment is always going to be critical to your growth. If you look at why some economies are rich and others are poor, the biggest difference is the amount of capital per worker in those economies,” he said.
The question of what should come first, immigrants or the jobs that require immigrants to fill them, was asked at the gathering. Emery said that, “there’s a need to create good-paying jobs that will keep young people from leaving the region, and retain the immigrants that have arrived.”
Most immigrants head to larger cities like Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto to look for jobs and better support systems.
Nova Scotia had a five-year immigrant retention rate of 72% between 2011-2015, while Newfoundland and Labrador was 56%, New Brunswick was 52%, and P.E.I. had the lowest retention rate of only 18%.
No province outside Atlantic Canada has a retention rate below 80%.
Are you interested to learn more about Canada’s Atlantic Pilot Stream? Let us tell you all about it at Canadianvisa.org!