Economist calls for more immigrants in New Brunswick

A New Brunswick-based economist has suggested that increasing the annual immigrant intake would help significantly boost the Canadian province’s struggling economy.

Between 2006 and 2011, New Brunswick welcomed just over 7,000 immigrants to the province, while the federal government currently caps the province’s immigration intake at 625 people a year. But according to economist David Campbell, the New Brunswick government should lobby for this number to be raised to between 2,000 and 3,000 people a year.

“Well, a thousand immigrant families I estimate would bring in CDN$65-million a year in consumer spending and that would support about 1,200 jobs right there,” explained Campbell, stating that the consumer-spending impact of immigration would include: CDN$7 million on food, CDN$11 million on lodging, CDN$11 million on transportation and CDN$20 million in local, provincial and federal tax revenue.

Campbell held up fellow Maritime province, Prince Edward Island, as an example of how boosting immigration can help lift the economy. “If you look at Prince Edward Island, which has had the biggest increase on a relative basis on immigration, it actually has the best employment growth and the best GDP growth of any of the three Maritime provinces,” he said.

A Royal Bank of Canada report released in September 2013, revealed that the Maritimes were expected to have had the slowest growing economies in the country last year, with New Brunswick at the bottom of the table, with estimated overall growth of just 0.8 per cent for the year.

The report also suggested that this trend is likely to continue this year, too.