Canada’s immigration lab: What the country can learn from PEI

Good long and balanced profile in the Globe on PEI’s immigration strategy, with many common characteristics elsewhere in Atlantic Canada. Retention will remain a challenge:

On a crisp, late-autumn morning, locals shuffle through the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market, scooping up farm produce from the fertile countryside just a few minutes up the road, cuts of meat from local ranchers, fresh Prince Edward Island oysters (shucked while you wait) and an array of handmade crafts and preserves. The scene is familiar to anyone who’s visited the market during its 34-year history.

But as you head deeper in, the lilt of rural PEI accents is interspersed with less familiar sounds: Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic. A long line of market-goers waits at a stall serving foods from Africa. Young students carry on an animated conversation in Spanish in front of a Mexican food vendor. Other stalls serve Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern fare.

“It’s a different atmosphere altogether from what it was back 20 years ago,” said Ralph Younker of Younker’s Farm Fresh Produce. Mr. Younker has had a fruit-and-vegetable stall at the market for the past 28 years, and he has watched as a new wave of immigrants has transformed the popular Charlottetown attraction. “In the last two or three years, we’ve really noticed the influx.”

About 2,500 new immigrants landed in PEI in 2017; roughly 90 per cent of which have settled, for now, in Charlottetown. About the same number arrived in 2016. The province has also taken in about 800 non-permanent foreign residents in the past year .

While those numbers might not sound like a lot to people living in Canada’s big, immigrant-intensive hubs, such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, they’re a very big deal in a place the size of Charlottetown (population 36,000). The annual immigrant influx is equivalent to roughly 6 per cent of the city’s population – which, on a per capita basis, dwarfs the intake of municipalities elsewhere in the country….

via Canada’s immigration lab: What the country can learn from PEI – The Globe and Mail

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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