The four Atlantic premiers and members of the federal cabinet will work together on an immigration pilot program in order to grow the regional economy. 

As a first step in implementing the Atlantic Growth Strategy, federal Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum announced an immigration pilot program Monday following meetings with the four Atlantic premiers and members of the federal cabinet in St. Peter’s Bay, Prince Edward Island.

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The strategy will focus on:

  • skilled workforce and immigration
  • innovation
  • clean growth and climate change
  • trade and investment
  • infrastructure.

New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant says Atlantic Canada faces an aging demographic challenge. “It is imperative that we keep our young people here, bring back Atlantic Canadians to the region and increase the amount of new Canadians coming to our four provinces. The immigration pilot program will allow more new Canadians to Atlantic Canada, provide more flexibility to the provinces and focus more efforts on retention. This will help New Brunswick's labour force and our economy.”

The four Atlantic premiers and members of the federal cabinet will work together on an Atlantic Growth Strategy and an immigration pilot program in order to grow the economy and support families in the region. From left: Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil; Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Minister Dominic LeBlanc; Treasury Board President Scott Brison; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum; Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote; Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAuley; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Singh Bains; Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball; Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan; and Premier Brian Gallant. (Government of New Brunswick photo)

The three-year pilot program is meant to address resource gaps the region is facing and to help businesses attract and retain global talent.  The intent is also to support population growth, develop a skilled workforce and increase employment rates in the Maritimes.

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Gallant says the pilot program will facilitate the entry of 2,000 principal immigrants into Atlantic Canada next year. He says principal applicants can bring their family, so the actual number of immigrants could be several times greater. The number of immigrants is subject to increase in the second and third year of the program if there is sufficient demand.

More information about the program is available from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency website.