Photo: Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau delivers the Throne Speech at the New Brunswick Legislature in Fredericton, N.B., on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/James West)
Although reference to the importance of immigration was scarce on the campaign trail, Premier Higgs and his new Progressive Conservative government have sent a clear signal in their speech from the throne that it will be an important part of their plan for the economy. The speech made reference to other Canadian provinces who are seeing positive economic results from successful immigration efforts.
“Our population decline must be reversed. Restarting our private sector economy will give many New Brunswick families a chance to return. We need to bring immigrants to New Brunswick to build our economy and our communities. When managed properly, immigration creates jobs. Provinces and states who attract immigrants have higher economic growth rates.” – excerpt from Speech from the Throne, Nov. 20, 2018.
The New Brunswick Multicultural Council says this represents important validation for more than 35,000 immigrants residing in the province and encouraging news for thousands of prospective immigrants who wish to make New Brunswick their home.
“This government has defined their priorities as supporting small business growth, protecting the healthcare system, and creating a world-class education system.” said Alex LeBlanc, Executive Director of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council (NBMC). “There are hundreds of businesses across the province with serious labour challenges. Our healthcare system is turning to immigration to address shortages in nurses, caregivers, and personal support workers. Virtually all of our public schools, colleges and universities are all seeing declining enrollments from New Brunswick born students. We see immigration as playing a key role in achieving all of this government’s priorities.”
“We need to continue improving our retention, but we must also work on a sizable boost in immigration overall to address our labour shorages. We believe the right target is 1%, or roughly 7500 immigrants, per year. This would put is in-line with the national average.” Said Moncef Lakouas, President of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council (NBMC).
Lakouas points to recommended solutions from the Multicultural Council’s recent New Conversations Tour Report, available on their website. “The province needs to develop a strategy for credential recognition, boost international student enrollments and retention, and needs to develop a distinct strategy for recruitment and retention of newcomers to work in smaller and francophone centers across the province.” says Lakouas. “NBMC and our member agencies are ready to support planning and scale up our efforts to welcome, settle, and retain more new New-Brunswickers to grow our communities and economy.”