Alberta’s booming job market has resulted in the province’s largest population growths since the 1980s.
The latest data from Statistics Canada shows that from July 2012 to July 2013, Alberta welcomed 52,551 international newcomers and 52,677 residents from other provinces within Canada, representing a 3.5 percent increase in population over the year prior.
“There’s not a lot of mystery in terms of the opportunities that are afforded in Alberta compared to where a lot of people are coming from,” said Alberta government economist Kate White. “The reason we get more now than we did in the [last decade’s] boom is that our relative performance is better. While we were booming in 2002-2009, so was the rest of Canada quite healthy — and the rest of the world.”
Most newcomers are headed to Alberta’s two largest cities – Edmonton and Calgary, which have expanded resettlement services in recent years to accommodate the influx of new arrivals.
“We’re in the land of opportunity,” said Calgary’s chief development officer for Immigrant Services, Cindy DeVogue. “The term ‘Cashberta’ is out there and people see Calgary as being the place to come to get a job.”
Alberta has long been experiencing massive economic growth and, until recently, has had to grapple with extreme labour shortages. Business experts are relieved that finally labour market growth appears to be catching up. However, employers in the province still credit the approximately 70,000 workers that have arrived through the controversial temporary foreign worker program.
Labour organizations have critiqued the temporary foreign worker program for taking jobs away from Canadians, but the figures in Alberta seem to suggest that employers are hiring whoever comes to the province – foreign or domestic. The shift in population has also effected the distribution of political powers across the country.
Alberta accepted 34,119 international arrivals in the first six months of this year and is on track to surpass last year’s total. Policy makers are now focusing on building infrastructure to sustain the growth in the coming years.
Source: Calgary Herald