News Release

REF NO.: 55

SUBJECT: Harris Centre releases latest Population Project reports

DATE: March 8, 2018

New research reports from Memorial University’s Harris Centre examine municipal-level service delivery and the attraction and retention of professionals in Labrador.

As part of the Harris Centre’s Population Project, the reports are a direct response to the population projections for the province released this past year.

Municipal-level Service Delivery in Labrador

The municipal services report, led by Dr. Tony Fang, Memorial’s Stephen Jarislowsky chair in economic and cultural transformation, presents a series of recommendations, including improved communications and collaboration between municipalities and residents, and between municipalities and the provincial government to better address these critical issues.

Dr. Fang’s report also provides an analysis of the services that are currently being provided, as well as recommendations for improved access to clean drinking water, better partnerships for waste disposal, fire and emergency services, and improved access to recreational programs and activities.

“Municipal services can have a significant impact on communities and the quality of life they offer, and in Labrador, we found that there are discrepancies in the levels of service in different parts of the region,” said Dr. Fang.

“We hope this report will provide a guide to government bodies, communities and interested citizens to better understand the services that currently exist in the region and how they measure up to provincial and federal standards. They can then use the report as a basis for discussion on how to improve those services where necessary.”

Attracting and Retaining Professionals in Labrador

Addressing municipal service provision is only one piece of the puzzle in determining how regions such as Labrador need to adjust to shifting population characteristics. Attracting and retaining professionals has long been a challenge in Labrador.

However, with an ever-increasing shift of people to more urban areas, combined with a shrinking workforce, there is even more need to develop strategies to address this issue.

The second report, led by Dr. Delores Mullings, associate professor, School of Social Work at Memorial, indicates that the issues regarding attracting and retaining professionals are multi-faceted and relate to professionals’ dissatisfaction with respect to both their professional and personal lives in Labrador.

The report states that providing competitive salaries and better regional orientation would help with the issue, but overall engagement of all stakeholders and decision-makers is needed in the development of informed, consistent and locally relevant attraction and retention strategies for the region.

“The report reinforces and highlights policy and program gaps and barriers to professional attraction and retention and proposes easily implemented short- and longer-term recommendations that are doable with political will and commitment,” said Dr. Mullings.

“These recommendations can help policy-makers determine the priority for policy change and implementation immediately and in the future.”   

Preparing for demographic changes

While the research reports focus specifically on Labrador, many of the findings and recommendations are relevant to the rest of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well.

“While Labrador does face specific challenges, issues such as a small and scattered population and difficulty attracting and retaining professionals are challenges for many regions within the province,” said Dr. Keith Storey, director, Population Project.

“Many of the recommendations in each of these reports can certainly be applied to other regions and help governments, business and non-profit service providers better prepare for the anticipated demographic changes.”

Multi-year research project

The reports are part of the Harris Centre’s Population Project, a multi-year research project aimed at providing a better understanding of the implications of the province’s anticipated population changes over the next 20 years.

The project has already completed and released three other reports, including population projections for the entire province, as well as a report regarding the temporary foreign worker program and employers in Labrador. Two more reports will be released in the coming months.

Further information about the project can be found online.

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