Archive for March, 2012
Saskatchewan’s population hit an all-time high of 1,067,612 last year, according to population estimates released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.
That number represents a 17,064-person jump over 2010 figures — the highest single-year increase since 1953 when the population rose by 18,000 people. The province’s 1.62 per cent growth rate was the second highest in Canada behind Alberta.
Net interprovincial migration was recorded at 1,181 people. Saskatchewan and Alberta were the only two provinces to experience more people moving in from other parts of Canada than those who left.
Premier Brad Wall attributed the rise to Saskatchewan’s growing economy.
“This speaks to the strength of our economy and illustrates a clear shift in the economic fortunes of our country to Western Canada and to Saskatchewan,” Wall said. “Saskatchewan is now a ‘have’ province with a vibrant economy and a growing population. That’s a big change from just a few short years ago.”
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is calling on employers to actively seek out and recruit the skilled immigrants they need, so that the Immigration Department can fast-track their applications and address Canada’s skills shortages.
Mr. Kenney plans create a just-in-time immigration system in which immigrants, particularly those with strong language skills, would be offered a job, have their credentials assessed, get accepted and settled in Canada – all within a year of applying. At the moment, that process can take several years
Richard McKeagan, president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada, welcomed the news that Mr. Kenney wants to introduce a special immigration stream for skilled tradespeople. “There’s going to be a skills shortage in our industry, there are some already in some parts of the country,” Mr. McKeagan said. “Anything that allows people in the construction industry, where we need people, to find meaningful employment, we support that.”
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As a record number now live west of Ontario, the province is looking to migrants to redress the balance.
In a direct response to the province’s shrinking share of Canada’s immigrant population over the past decade, Charles Sousa, Ontario’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister, has announced the creation of Ontario’s first ever immigration strategy.
Although Ontario continues to be the largest recipient of new immigrants in Canada each year, it has suffered as a result of changes to immigration policy and more and more migrants are beginning to flock to Western and Atlantic Canada because of the rapid growth of provincial nominee programs.
Sousa said the initiative will be crucial to the province’s economic future and urged the Canadian federal government to negotiate a new agreement on immigration with Ontario. He said, “It’s a priority for us to ensure that Ontario has fairness in the system. “Right now, things are happening at the expense of Ontario and I’m trying to change that.”
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