Greater Moncton has launched a new immigration strategy with a goal of doubling the number of immigrants who settle in the region over the next five years. It has also set out a plan to entice more newcomers to stay long term.
David Campbell is the co-author of ‘Greater Moncton Immigration Strategy 2020-2024.’ He says a significant spike in immigration is needed to ensure economic growth in the tri-community.
“Without a doubt, immigrant attraction and retention is critical to our long-term economic prosperity,” said Campbell, president of Jupia Consultants Inc., the firm tasked with developing the new Strategy.
The Greater Moncton Immigration Strategy outlines a proactive plan built around three key pillars: attracting talent to the community, ensuring newcomers put down roots and broadening community collaboration and mobilization.
In 2018, Greater Moncton welcomed 1,450 immigrants and newcomers. Campbell said to continue to achieve the growth that is in keeping with the region’s current economic development strategy, 2,700 newcomers a year will need to move to Greater Moncton by 2024.
“We’ve got a fabulous community, we have the jobs, so why not be bold about where we want to go as a community?” said Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold.
She and the mayor of Dieppe and Riverview are committed to making the changes needed to also increase immigrant retention rates from 49.3% in 2015 to 75% by 2024.
But Moncton newcomer, Sen Song who settled in the city 5 years ago from China says improvements will have to be made to newcomer education in order for the region to achieve that goal.
“Asian families they are looking for a better education system here compared with other bigger cities otherwise they just live here a few years and they leave,” said Song.
According to Rick Cuming, president of the New Brunswick Teacher’s Association, some immigrant families are leaving the province because there are not enough resources in the education system.
“Families are going to be leaving this province because their needs are not being met and teachers are doing absolutely everything they can to make that happen but without the supports coming down from government we are just not going to be able to do it,” said Cuming.
Riverview MLA Bruce Fitch says those gaps in resources for immigrant students and for their teachers need to be addressed.
“To make sure there is a curriculum and to make sure there are resources,” said Fitch.