According to a new report funded by The Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council, Newfoundland and Labrador needs to focus on a lot more than oil if it wants to remain prosperous for future generations.
The report, authored by The Conference Board of Canada, says the province needs to be more competitive and includes several key recommendations in areas such as innovation, education, immigration, investment and government policy.
“Oil brought an economic boom to Newfoundland and Labrador, but that boom is ending, which means the province will not be able to rely as heavily on this industry to drive economic growth or fund government program spending. Focusing on improving the province’s competitive business environment will help mitigate some of the negative effects,” said Pedro Antunes, Deputy Chief Economist of The Conference Board of Canada.
The report, Achieving Sustainable Prosperity: Benchmarking the Competitiveness of Newfoundland and Labrador, compares the province’s competitive performance to its closest competitors in such areas as innovation, labour market, and the business environment.
Cynthia Crosbie of Crosbie Group Limited welcomes the push to attract more immigrants. Their company supplies offshore trade labour.
“To keep the workforce that are qualified and competent there is a huge challenge so to be able to bring in some new immigrants and train them into the way we perform roles is very critical,” said Crosbie
The report also recommends improving the tax system, reining in debt by cutting program spending, especially in public administration and investing in infrastructure.
“Infrastructure is an investment, it pays dividends for you. Where we’re spending is not on infrastructure it’s in programs and services. So once that money is spent and we’re using oil revenues to do that which won’t be there forever, that is unsustainable, according to the Conference Board.” said Richard Alexander of the Employers’ Council.