Population growth is important to promoting the economic growth that is necessary for maintaining high living standards in Atlantic Canada. Atlantic Canada between 2011-2016 has experienced the weakest population growth in the country. This was due in part to the region’s low intake of immigrants.
This is improving, however, and the region is currently on track to increase its newcomer share to five per cent in 2019. It is now welcoming more than 14,000 newcomers annually compared with just 3,000 two decades ago.
Like in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Atlantic Canada has depended on the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) to fuel its rising immigration levels.
In 2017, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) was introduced to give the region an extra tool for attracting more economic class newcomers. Since then, nearly 4,200 newcomers have gained permanent residence through the AIP.
The pilot was 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 country’s highest population growth rate thanks to it enjoying Canada’s highest per capita intake of newcomers.
Another benchmark for success will be higher newcomer retention levels. While the region has Canada’s lowest retention rates, recent evidence shows that retention is on the rise.
It is fair to expect retention will continue to improve in the region since the AIP and PNP aim to match newcomers with job opportunities, and both programs are also geared towards facilitating transitions to permanent residence for international students and foreign workers already in the region.
If all goes according to plan, we will also soon view Atlantic Canada’s immigration revolution with the same admiration.