The mayor of Saint John believes a three day trip to Toronto last week drove home the message that New Brunswick has something to sell.
Don Darling was joined by Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien and Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold as well a number of potential employers.
The trio were on a recruitment mission to Canada’s largest city with the help of Opportunities NB.
It was historic in that it was the first time the mayors of New Brunswick’s three largest cities travelled together in a bid to pitch the province.
Their visit included an appearance before the Economic Club of Canada.
Darling says he came away convinced those they spoke to in Toronto are hungry for what the province has to offer.
“The way they’re living, they don’t have the quality of life they want,” said Darling.
“They don’t know about Saint John or New Brunswick for that matter and I think we validated that’s what we have for sale here.”
The quality of life includes jobs; thousands of which will need to be filled over the coming years and something Darling feels all cities can benefit from.
“If an employer came tomorrow and said I have a thousand jobs, each of the municipalities in my opinion might have a hard time filling those thousand jobs,” Darling explained. “But each of us could fill 330 of those jobs”
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A number of New Brunswick-based employers made the trip including J.D. Irving which is looking to hire almost 9,000 people over the next five years. The company took part in a newcomers career and settlement fair.
“We think we spoke to 3,000 people over the course of the day,” said Susan Wilson, J.D. Irving’s immigration director.
Between 30 and 40 candidates were shortlisted for potential employment. Wilson says getting people to come to New Brunswick and stay is an important part of the process.
Darling wants to accelerate the process so that Saint John will be well positioned to give people the information they need when they begin to think about moving.