New faces bring new ideas to Newfoundland and Labrador:
Newfoundland and Labrador is currently facing both a fiscal crisis and a population crisis.
What role can immigration play in helping to address these issues? How open are we as a province to welcoming newcomers and how easy or appealing is it for newcomers to make a home here? What do we need to do to improve the attraction and retention of immigrants? These are some of the questions these latest reports try to answer.
The first report, produced by Dr. Tony Fang, Memorial’s Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Cultural and Economic Transformation, along with Dr. Jane Zhu and Alex David Wells, looks at immigration through the lens of employers.
The study, funded by the Government of Canada’s Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, surveyed more than 800 employers in Atlantic Canada to explore their views on the local economy and local labour market conditions, as well as attitudes, perceptions and experiences of employers regarding hiring immigrants and international students.
The report notes that, among the surveyed employers who received applications from immigrants and international students, 53 per cent hired some of them (a percentage much higher than the one reported 15 years ago), only 43 per cent did so in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The report also looks at employer perceptions, identifying the various reasons why employers may hesitate to hire immigrants, as well as the perceived barriers to hiring immigrants presented through the immigration system itself.
“Employers play a critical role in the immigration process: no one wants to move to, or stay in, a place where they cannot find work,” says Dr. Fang. “While many employers are willing to hire immigrants, there are still many who aren’t familiar with how the immigration process works, and many immigrants face language barriers, lack understanding of Canadian culture or workplace practices or have difficulty in obtaining the necessary Canadian certification of foreign credentials and foreign work experience to be eligible for the positions that are available. This disconnect presents a missed opportunity for the individual, the employer and the province as a whole.”
The second report, written by Mike Clair, former associate director of public policy at the Harris Centre and former director of culture and heritage for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, looks at the complete picture, examining the complex immigration ecosystem in Canada and, more specifically, in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The report also explores the cultural and economic context of the province and presents a case for how improvements to immigration efforts could strengthen the sustainability of the province overall.
“We have the lowest immigration rate of any province in Canada and so immigration isn’t something we have a lot of experience with,” said Mr. Clair. “This needs to change if the province is to remain sustainable in the long term and if we are to play our role in the Canadian Confederation and in the global economy.”
'Critical for the province'
“Without interventions like those proposed by Mr. Clair and Dr. Fang’s team, population trends in the province will have a drastic impact on the economy, governance and overall quality of life in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Dr. Rob Greenwood, associate vice-president public engagement and external relations, at Memorial, and director, Harris Centre.
“Planning for this change and developing strategies to adjust and adapt to the change is critical for the province right now.”
The full reports and report summaries and other material can be found by clicking the links below:
Dr. Tony Fang, Dr. Jane Zhu, and Alex David Wells