The Atlantic provinces of Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick– are welcoming more number of immigrants than earlier. As a result, Atlantic Canada is now enjoying the much-needed population growth. An increase in population is crucial for Atlantic Canada to promote economic development and maintain high living standards.
Population growth in Atlantic Canada was at the weakest level during the period between 2011 and 2016. This was mainly owing to the low intake of immigrants. But later, the region adopted many serious steps to welcome and retain newcomers and they have resulted in increased population growth.
Immigration to Atlantic Canada and population growth
Atlantic Canada comprises around 6.5 percent of the total population of Canada. But the region has been struggling to attract a proportionate share of newcomers.
However, the number of immigrants to Atlantic Canada is increasing. Currently, the newcomer share of the region is five percent while in early 2000s, the share was only one per cent. The region now welcomes 14000 newcomers annually, while the number was only 3000 two decades ago. But still, Atlantic Provinces other than Prince Edward Island lag in national per capita newcomer intake. It is expected that the region would be able to welcome its proportionate share of newcomers by 2020s.
Immigration growth and PNPs
The Provincial Nominee Programs have played a significant role in increasing the newcomer share of the Atlantic region. New Brunswick was the first province in the Atlantic region of Canada that adopted the PNP, followed by Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
Atlantic Immigration Pilot was launched in 2017 with an aim to boost economic class immigration to the region. A total of 4200 have been admitted to the region through the pilot program so far.
Compared to the previous year, Newfoundland and Labrador has already welcomed more newcomers under the AIP. It is expected that the province would surpass the immigration target it had set for 2022 this year itself.
In the case of Prince Edward Island, the province’s PNP used to contribute close to 90 percent of all new immigrants. But the intake has decreased in 2018, partially owing to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. However, Prince Edward Island, which is the smallest province in Canada, currently enjoy the highest per capita intake of newcomers to the country.
At the same time, Nova Scotia is planning to welcome 6000 newcomers in 2019. When it comes to New Brunswick, the province welcomed a record 4600 newcomers last year and it will soon cross 5000 this year.
Experts suggest that the Atlantic Canada must welcome 20000 new immigrants per year in order to achieve and maintain ideal level of population growth. Though the retention rates of immigrants are the lowest in this region, it is expected that this would improve soon.
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