Immigration has risen to the top of the public policy agenda in Newfoundland over the past few years due to demographic factors experienced throughout Canada and much of the developed world. Rural communities are experiencing declining and aging populations, employers groups are concerned about looming skills gaps, humanitarian organizations see Canada as a safe haven, and the growing numbers of new settlers wish to sponsor family and friends to their new home.
These factors are further emphasized in Newfoundland and Labrador. The population of the province is, on average, older than the national population, and a larger percentage lives in rural areas. A declining work force and the trend towards urbanization are having a greater impact in the province. Newfoundland and Labrador is poised to undertake large scale resource development projects requiring considerable manpower and the province must develop ways to avoid the possible shortfalls in manpower. These include retention of the existing workforce, and training the school age population for the jobs that will be created; enticing expatriate Newfoundlanders and Labradorians back to the province; and attracting new immigrants to the province. Governments at all levels and educational institutions including Memorial University have a role to play in creating a welcoming community for immigrants.
Published in: Newfoundland Quarterly, v.101, no. 2, 2008, p. 34-36.