“We are facing urgent labour market challenges in New Brunswick. Paramedics, nurses, forestry, trucking… they are all seeing shortages. This isn’t just a paramedics issue, it’s a labour supply issue.” said Moncef Lakouas, President of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council (NBMC). “Over the next ten years, there will be 110,000 retirements and our public schools will only graduate 76,000 students. Retaining our youth is critical, but it won’t be enough. We need to be talking seriously about immigration.”
The new report by NBMC includes several recommendations for all levels of government. Key recommendations include nearly doubling immigration levels to 1% of New Brunswick’s population annually (approximately 7,500 newcomers per year); developing a provincial strategy to increase recruitment and retention of international students; and, having municipalities officially assign the immigration file to a member of their staff teams.
The report follows a series of 15 town halls involving presentations by David Campbell, former Chief Economist of the New Brunswick Jobs Board, and Richard Saillant, economist and author. The meetings involved more than 1300 New Brunswickers and heard from mayors, employers, industry, immigrants to the region, and community leaders.
“New Brunswick is at a crossroad. This may sound like a tired cliché but it is nevertheless true. What we do or fail to do over the next five years could have a decisive impact for decades to come. Welcoming many, many more immigrants should be on the very top of our to-do list,” said Richard Saillant, Economist and Author.