Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have experienced a nearly fourfold increase in immigration over the last 20 years
Between 2011 and 2016, Atlantic Canada experienced the weakest population growth in this country. This is due in part to the low intake of immigrants in the region.
The population growth is important to promote economic growth that is necessary to maintain a high standard of living in Atlantic Canada. Recognizing this, the four Atlantic provinces – Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick – made significant efforts to welcome and retain more newcomers.
These efforts are already bearing fruit as the region recently enjoyed a much-needed population growth thanks to higher levels of immigration.
Tracking to 6.5 percent of Canadian immigrants
Atlantic Canada comprises 6.5 percent of Canada’s population but has struggled to attract a proportionate part of newcomer countries. In the early 2000s, the area is only able to attract one percent of newcomers.
This improvement, however, and the area is currently on track to increase the share of new entrants to five percent in 2019. (See Chart 1). Now welcomed more than 14,000 new entrants per year compared with just 3,000 two decades ago.
This growth should be celebrated, but more work remains. With the exception of PEI, the other three Atlantic provinces are still lagging per capita intake of newcomers nationwide. (See Table 2).
However, current trends suggest that the region can meet the proportionate part of newcomer Canada around the 2020s.
AIP & PNP have fueled immigration growth
Just as in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Atlantic Canada has been dependent on the Provincial Candidate Program (PNP) for fuel increased immigration levels.
PNP was launched in 1999 to help the provinces and smaller regions attract more newcomers. New Brunswick is the first province in Canada to adopt the PNP-Atlantic region, according to the same year launched and Newfoundland and Labrador followed shortly after (See Table 2). PEI and Nova Scotia were the next to join, in 2001 and 2003, respectively.
In 2017, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) was introduced to provide an additional tool region to attract more newcomers economy class. Since then, nearly 4,200 newcomers have gained permanent residence through the AIP.
Newfoundland and Labrador: AIP & PNP account for 80% of newcomer arrivals in 2019
Newfoundland and Labrador have already welcomed more newcomers under the AIP this year than in 2018. (See Chart 2).
Combined with the PNP, Newfoundland, and Labrador are on track this year to “substantially” surpass the immigration target that it had established for 2022.
Both the AIP and PNP now account for the majority of all immigrants arriving in the province. This underscores just how important the programs are in supporting Newfoundland and Labrador’s efforts to promote economic development through immigration.
PEI: Dip in PNP arrivals being offset by AIP
In recent years, the PNP has accounted for about 90 percent of all new immigrants to PEI. Provincial PNP intake has decreased in 2018 and early 2019 data indicate it will not recover to 2017 levels.
This dip, however, was partially offset by AIP (See Chart 3).
Pilots used to bring 235 new immigrants to PEI in the first nine months of 2019, compared with 200 newcomers in all of 2018.
All in all, Canada’s smallest province has the highest population growth rate of the country thanks to the enjoy the highest per capita intake of Canadian newcomers.
Nova Scotia: Set to welcome 6,000 newcomers in 2019
AIP intake corrugated Nova Scotia, with the province welcomed nearly 1,000 newcomers through the program in the first nine months of 2019. (See Chart 4).
This is almost triple the 375 newcomers who are greeted by a pilot in the entire 2018.
Thanks to the AIP increased and intake PNP, Nova Scotia has set a record number of newcomers in recent years: exceed 5,000 immigrants for the first time in 2016, and AIP helps Nova Scotia to nearly 6,000 newcomers in 2018-sill looks poised to surpass the year 2019.
New Brunswick: more than 5,000 newcomers in 2019?
New Brunswick is currently the main objective for the coming AIP, welcomed nearly 1,200 newcomers through the program in 2019. (See Figure 5).
AIP also help New Brunswick set new immigration records: Province welcomes a new record of 4,600 entrants last year and is on track to surpass the barrier of 5,000 newcomers in 2019.
When will we know Atlantic Canada has succeeded?
The above data tells us this region is in the midst of revolution immigration with AIP and PNP open road.
In order to actually reverse the fate of immigration, Atlantic Canada will need to consistently welcome more than 20,000 new arrivals each year.
Another benchmark for success will be a newcomer to a higher retention rate. While this region has the lowest retention rate in Canada, recent evidence suggests that increasing retention.
Retention is crucial to achieving a virtuous cycle of economic growth – attract and retain more newcomers will attract and retain more Canadians as well as the investment of the public and private sector.
It is reasonable to expect retention will continue to increase in the region since the AIP and PNP aim to match newcomers with employment opportunities, and both programs are also directed to facilitate the transition to permanent residence for international students and foreign workers already in the region.
the level of newcomers grows Atlantic Canada is a function of external factors AIP and PNP. The low unemployment rate in the biggest cities in the region. Three levels of government, as well as employers, post-secondary institutions, and immigrant-serving organizations, working in lock-step to promote the area as a destination of choice. This is the same approach that Saskatchewan and Manitoba successfully used to increase the level of their newcomers.
Today, the stakeholders in the Canadian immigration admire Saskatchewan and Manitoba to turn their fortunes around in a decade to implement the PNP.
If all goes according to plan, we will soon see a revolution immigration Atlantic Canada with the same admiration.
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