Sharp elbows: Nous embauchons edition
I’ve been writing a big lately about the need for small provinces like New Brunswick to fight a little harder for at least its ‘share’ when it comes to big issues such as economic development funding, R&D funding, immigration, new programs to support net zero by 2050, etc. etc. etc.
For example, I am increasingly annoyed about the airport situation in New Brunswick. I don’t know specifics but I have heard from three Ontario colleagues that there are still significantly less options for those looking to travel by air to Moncton. Build back better should at the very least be build back not worse.
I have a growing concern about immigration and New Brunswick’s ability to attract its ‘share’ of the national permanent resident total every year. By my estimate (and others) we need to get up to around 10k per year but after steady increases through 2019, we have not even returned to the pre-pandemic level whereas Ontario has blown through its pre-pandemic level. In 2021, there were 198,000 PRs admitted to Ontario up from 153,000 in 2019 whereas New Brunswick admitted 5,300 compared to 6,000 pre-pandemic.
And my new concern relates to the other big dog in Confederation, Quebec. Driving through the Quebec-Drummondville agri-food corridor almost every single manufacturing facility had a “we’re hiring’ sign out front. And there were indications of new investment in the corridor including a several KM long (seemingly) new cranberry operation. What happens when Quebec gets serious again about immigration?
In 2015, Quebec attracted 18% of all PRs admitted that year. By 2019 (Pre-pandemic) it was down to 11.9% and by 2021 it was 12.4%. If La Belle Province wants to get back up to 18% in the coming years, that could squeeze out places like NB even further.
I know the feds are increasing their annual immigrant targets but I’m not sure there will be enough to meet the demand. Newfoundland wants to to go from 2,000 to 5,500. The west wants more too and as I have reported on these pages in the past, depending on the scenario Ontario will demand 230,000 or more per year.
We need to get back on track: 7,000 or so this year, etc. We only have data for the first two months of 2022 but it looks encouraging - we are on pace to attract just under 7,000.