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Stats Can shows record quarter for immigration growth in Maritimes

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In the first quarter of 2024, the Maritimes welcomed the highest number of newcomers ever since data became available, according to recent figures from Statistics Canada.

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick both welcomed 3,999 immigrants with Prince Edward Island welcoming 1,330 new residents since January.

Statistics Canada says the strong growth in permanent immigration numbers is mostly due to the growing need for skilled workers.

Kevin Silliker, the director of economic development for the City of Moncton, says the Greater Moncton Area has been seeing increased growth for the last few years.

“Our PR (permanent residents) residents have grown more than 162 per cent since 2019 just to put things into perspective of the growth trajectory,” he said. “We actually experienced more than 5,000 new permanent residents into the area from one summer to the next, so the numbers have been very, very strong and this is a good thing.

“We’re looking at obviously growing our labour market, having new talent into the area, more investment and overall economic activity so that kind of population growth is very positive for the economy.”

While overall being viewed as a positive thing, Silliker says fast growth does bring its own growing pains.

He points to infrastructure and health-care demands, the need for more schools and even needed adjustments to the public transit system.

“We’ve seen incredible growth in ridership on Codiac Transpo, well beyond pre-pandemic numbers so that’s certainly an area that’s growing and at a certain point there were actually individuals that had to be left curbside because the buses were at capacity, we have not had that problem in the past,” he said.

The city says new buses are being added and adjustments are being made to the current system, including changing the frequency of rides to fit the new demand.

Overall, Silliker says the city is trending in the right direction when it comes to supporting the growth.

“We actually just released an Urban Growth Strategy, which really sets the growth trajectory for the next generation, the next 25 years, so there’s lots of planning that’s happening as well the municipal plan is being updated over the next 24 months and that’s an overall arching document that guides our growth,” he said. “We have new tools and assets like the Housing Accelerator Fund which is already adding new units into the marketplace, but clearly more work to be done but we are trending in the right direction on the right path.”

Moncton doesn’t have the numbers for 2024 yet. Silliker predicts it may have slowed a little bit, but is still stronger than past years and pre-pandemic years.

In terms of temporary immigration numbers, Statistics Canada says while it remains high across Canada overall, both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island saw a decrease to start the new year.

In total, Canada’s population grew to over 41 million in the first quarter of 2024. 

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