Elections 2018 – Where do NB Parties Stand on Immigration?

On September 24, 2018, New Brunswickers will elect a new government. At NBMC, we wanted to know, where do our political parties stand on immigration?

Last spring, as part of our New Conversations tour, the New Brunswick Multicultural Council engaged leaders, employers and community members in 15 towns and cities across the province in a dialogue around immigration, the economy and the viability of our communities. We heard first hand from New Brunswickers of their hopes and fears for the province, of the myriad ways we all contribute to the prosperity and wellbeing of our communities, and of the challenges that remain.

New Brunswick is now facing the choice between planning for growth and managing decline, and we know our political leaders care about these issues. We recently sent 5 questions to each political party and asked them about their platform on immigration in New Brunswick.

Please note that NBMC and its members does not publicly support individual parties. There are the answers received from each party, word for word. Where no response was provided, the party is not listed. Each party was informed that their answers would be circulated to our membership, partners and the multicultural community to inform their individual decision in terms of casting ballots. We look forward to working with all political parties, elected representatives and the next government to advance the issues of importance to immigration, integration and the multicultural community.

* The Progressive-Conservative party did not respond to our questions by the deadline.

1. Population Growth

What are your party’s objectives related to population growth and immigration in New Brunswick? Do you have any specific strategies or goals related to levels of immigration in New Brunswick for the years ahead?
New Brunswick Liberal Association

Our government worked with the other Atlantic Provinces to develop the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project, a three-year, employer-driven immigration program that attracts and retains talented immigrants while supporting population growth and addressing labour shortages. This pilot will allow 2000 additional immigrants and their families to come to the four Atlantic Provinces, a key component of both the Atlantic Growth Strategy and the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project is employer-driven and intended to help employers find permanent workers to fill labour market needs that currently go unfilled. Employers interested in participating in the Pilot, must meet certain criteria, as well as meet and interview with pre-screened applicants in various pre-determined locations based on employers’ needs.
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The Pilot is focusing on recruiting temporary workers already in the province, as well as recent international student graduates from Atlantic Canadian post-secondary institutions.

The Green Party of New Brunswick

It is clear that some areas of the province are suffering from a labour shortage, such as the Edmundston area. One thing we would do is lobby the federal government to allow for more provincial control over immigration so we can ensure we are bringing a sufficient level of newcomers to keep up with labour demand.

The New Democratic Party of New Brunswick (NDP)

The NDP believe it is crucial to prevent the further out migration of our youth and to increase the population through immigration. Our specific strategy is to make life better for youth and immigrants so they will stay in the province. Our platform commitments for a $15 minimum wage , affordable childcare and affordable post secondary education, including free community college, and interest free student loans, among other things, not only will keep NB students here but will attract students from across Canada . These measures would be available to not just New Brunswick residents but all students from Canada and internationally who will come to New Brunswick and study and make this province their home.

The People’s Alliance of New Brunswick

The People’s Alliance supports our immigrant community as well as the need to fill vacant job postings with skilled immigrants.  We believe in the variety of cultures that make New Brunswick rich and vibrant and we will continue to work with those who are new to this province.

 

2. Settlement

How will your party invest in the settlement, integration and retention of newcomers to New Brunswick? Specifically, how will your party invest in population growth in rural communities and providing settlement agencies in smaller centres the resources they need to support newcomers in rural communities?
New Brunswick Liberal Association

Through our Economic Growth Plan, we are developing a targeted approach to attract, settle, integrate, and retain immigrants in both urban and rural communities, including:

– Development of firm-specific immigration plans for larger businesses that need a significant number of workers.

– Immigrants as home-care workers to support the Home First seniors’ strategy.

– Immigrants as investors in our aging rural tourism infrastructure.

– Immigrants to renew agriculture investment in rural New Brunswick.

– Immigrant entrepreneurs to start up export-oriented companies and to invest in and support high-growth entrepreneurs who are already here.

– A significant expansion of post-secondary foreign students to build the pool of future workers.

A re-elected Liberal Government will continue this progress through the Economic Growth Plan and Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project.

The Green Party of New Brunswick

The Green Party has the following policies related to this:

– Provide all newcomer services at one location in at least six geographical regions. Not only is this a more economically sound model, but also allows for the centralization of expertise and a higher chance of newcomer integration and success.

– Conduct a review of the Foreign Qualification Recognition Funding Program and other measures in place for the recognition of foreign credentials to ensure that proper measures and supports are in place to give newcomers the recognition they deserve.

– Increase access to full-time translators, psychological and social services, as needed, for refugee children in the public school system.

– Ensure that teachers, doctors and public servants, often the first line of communication and support for refugees and immigrants, are adequately prepared for their challenges by, among other things, preparing and delivering workshops on cultural sensitivity

– Provide dedicated funding to allow the New Brunswick Refugee Clinic to expand and remain sustainable, and encourage and support the addition of more legal services for immigration law

– Ease the availability of the Provincial Nominee Program for Temporary Foreign Workers as way to directly provide a pathway to permanent residency Specifically to rural areas, we are keen to promote rural economic development. We would re-direct money that is currently going to large corporations to small, local businesses to help them get off the ground. This would create more jobs in rural New Brunswick.

The New Democratic Party of New Brunswick (NDP)

Immigration settlement is primarily a federal responsibility and New Brunswick has not had its share of resettlement funds and favourable policies to attract its fair share of immigrants. We will push the federal government to make New Brunswick an immigrant destination and to increase federal funding in the province. Immigrants must be supported in getting long term stable employment and not just pushed to rural communities without adequate support. That support should primarily focus on stable employment for immigrant to rural areas.

 

3. Public Awareness and Engagement

How does your party plan to increase public awareness and capacity building of communities and employers related to the unprecedented demographic and labour market challenges in New Brunswick?
New Brunswick Liberal Association

As mentioned earlier, we have implemented The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project which is a three-year, employer-driven immigration program to attract and retain talented immigrants while supporting population growth and addressing labour shortages. The pilot project will welcome 2,000 additional immigrants and their families to the four Atlantic Provinces, making it a key component of the Atlantic Growth Strategy and of growing our labour market and population.

To help attract more workers to New Brunswick, a re-elected Liberal Government will also work with professional associations to develop fair, reasonable and consistent practices to recognize foreign credentials.

In efforts to retain our youth, a re-elected Liberal Government will create a reverse-headhunting service to provide expatriate New Brunswickers and other Canadians with a one-stop shop to assist them in finding a job and moving to New Brunswick, an initiative that will be further supported by job fairs across Canada. The initiative will support New Brunswickers living outside the province, and others, by helping them arrange interviews, look for housing, identify childcare options, and find a job for their partner. The new concierge-like service will aim to make finding work and moving to New Brunswick easier than it currently is.

Under Blaine Higgs and the Conservatives, New Brunswick’s population shrank from 756,079 to 753,914. Since 2014, the Gallant Government’s investments have led New Brunswick’s population to recover, and we now have the largest population in the history of our province. As of April 1, 2018, New Brunswick’s population was 761,214. We will continue this progress through retaining newcomers and youth in our province.

The Green Party of New Brunswick

We would initiate an educational campaign, with advertisements and materials distributed through public offices and schools, to support increased immigration and to undermine the myths against immigration and refugees.

The New Democratic Party of New Brunswick (NDP)

Yes we will use existing services to better advantage and encourage more cost sharing programs with the federal government to support awareness and engagement.

 

4. Francophone Immigration

What is your party’s position on supporting the unique and acute challenges related to francophone immigration in New Brunswick? How will your party look to grow francophone immigration in the province?
New Brunswick Liberal Association

In March 2017, the provincial and federal governments signed the Canada-New Brunswick Immigration Agreement in Moncton during the first joint Forum on Francophone Immigration. The agreement supports New Brunswick in its goal to help fill labour shortages and grow the population by welcoming more immigrants, and also included the first francophone immigration annex in Canada.

At the Forum on Francophone Immigration, organized jointly by the Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie and the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration, the ministers agreed to work together to enhance promotion efforts aimed at French-speaking immigrants and to foster their recruitment, selection and integration. They also discussed various measures that could be adopted, including:

– Working with interested provinces and territories to add a francophone dimension as part of any renewed immigration bilateral agreements;

– Mobilizing a greater number of partners in efforts to promote francophone immigration to Canada abroad;

– Supporting the enhancement of pre-arrival services in French for French-speaking immigrants; increasing the selection of French-speaking immigrants through federal programs; and

– Continuing to nominate French-speaking immigrants through provincial and territorial nominee programs.

The ministers also expressed their support for the following:

– developing a concrete action plan by the federal, provincial and territorial governments to attract, receive, integrate and retain francophone immigrants;

– holding a federal-provincial-territorial and community symposium to lay the foundation for new collaboration; and

– maintaining a joint committee to follow up on the first forum, participate in the delivery of this federal-provincial-territorial and community symposium and organize a second Forum on Francophone immigration within 12 months.

We will continue to promote French-speaking and bilingual newcomers’ social and civic participation, and encouraging employers to recruit them as part of their workforce.

The Green Party of New Brunswick

We would ensure our immigration strategy targets enough Francophones to maintain New Brunswick’s 2/3s anglophone and 1/3 Francophone makeup by ensuring 1/3 of newcomers are Francophones, as was recommended by the Official Languages Commissioner in her 2016-17 Annual Report. Reaching an agreement with the federal government to give the province more control over immigration would help us achieve this goal.

The New Democratic Party of New Brunswick (NDP)

We fully support a plan to encourage francophone immigrants. There has been some success with this strategy especially through institutions such as Université de Moncton.

 

5. Inclusion of Multicultural Communities

How does your government plan to support the inclusion and representation of multicultural communities in government boards, commissions, committees and leadership positions within the public service?
New Brunswick Liberal Association

The Liberal Party of New Brunswick believes in inclusion of all multicultural communities, and recognizes the value and strength that diversity brings to our province. That is why our Liberal Government works to promote the principles of New Brunswick’s Multiculturalism Policy – equality, appreciation, preservation of cultural heritages, and participation.

Going forward, a re-elected Liberal Government would welcome the opportunity to meet with the New Brunswick Multicultural Council to discuss initiatives that we can take to work towards better representation of every community in New Brunswick.

The Green Party of New Brunswick

We would have to investigate the best ways to do this.

The New Democratic Party of New Brunswick (NDP)

We support a program of affirmative action to include multicultural communities in all areas of government service.