A report by the Conference Board of Canada predicts upwards of 30,000 immigrants are expected to make the city of Edmonton their new home in Canada this year.
This is following the trend from last year, when – at three times the 20-year average – the city experienced a net migration of more than 33,000 individuals.
Although the Board also proposed that the net international migration to Edmonton will go down over the next couple of years, it will continue to remain above the 20-year average, at around 21,800 people in 2024 and 18,400 in 2025.
Director of economic forecasting at the Conference Board, Ted Mallett, proposed several reasons for this movement, with one of them being the federal government’s speeding up of immigration.
“The immigration has by design been increased significantly,” Mallett said in an interview Monday, according to Dennis Kovtun of CBC News.
Read More Canada Immigration News
Canada’s Immigration Ministers Aim To Improve System At Toronto Gathering
Immigrate To Canada As A Business System Specialist: All You Need To Know
Prince Edward Island PNP Draw: Province Issues 141 Canada Immigration Invitations
“The other two reasons that Mallett proposed were Prairie cities such as Edmonton having higher wages and more affordable housing prices compared to Vancouver and Toronto.
“What sets Edmonton apart is that home building tends to be very consistent and at a high pace,” he said. Furthermore, the Albertan economy is a “powerful engine,” owing to oil and gas, and local manufacturing and services.
“It tends to draw many more people who are perhaps priced out of the marketplace in other parts of the country,” Mallett said.
However, the rapid population growth this causes does not lead to purely positive outcomes.
For one, it is essential to ensure that real estate development does not fall behind population growth. Failure to ensure the same may result in newcomers engaging in bidding wars with each other, as per Mallett.
This acceleration applies to not only real estate, but infrastructure in general. Ward papastew Coun. Michaeel Janz, for example, stressed the importance of ensuring that people are connected to their workplaces, and – instead of expanding urban sprawl – the city should focus on replenishing existing infrastructure.
Furthermore, according to him, Edmonton should speed up transportation planning. He said that the city has plans for rapid bus transit and other public transport options coming online when its population touches 1.25 million individuals, as per CBC News.
“But that’s going to be coming sooner than we think. That could be in five or six years.”
Edmonton’s Need for a Renewed Immigration Policy
The second State of Immigration and Settlement Report from earlier this year highlighted how immigrants coming to Edmonton from other countries are facing issues related to employment, discrimination, lack of affordable housing, and education, and stressed the vital need for an updated immigration policy in the city to ensure that newcomers do not struggle.
It concluded that while Ottawa should ultimately be in charge of providing this service, Edmonton and its people bear responsibility too. According to it, an “inclusive economy” is one where everyone participates and benefits, and one which is possible through some of the following steps taken by people of Edmonton:
- Inclusive education, which “all children, regardless of culture, language, background or ability” can benefit from. Therefore, the education system needs to be “agile, flexible, and supportive of individual and community needs.”
- Anti-racism and anti-oppression training needs to be mandated for all teachers, and needs to be reinforced by school administration.
- The City of Edmonton and its public institutions need to build authentic relationships with immigrants to develop policies to support them.
- Newcomers’ experiences should be valued in not just economic terms.
Edmonton Journal reported that councillors passed a motion asking for the policy’s revision, and roughly 180 people of a diverse group belonging to 10 communities were interviewed for the report. The conclusion was that the city needs to update its immigration policy with migrants.
“Our institutions need to better understand, through these authentic relationships, the systemic barriers that prevent vulnerable newcomers from fully integrating and participating in our city, and to take urgent and direct action to remove these barriers,” the report read.
“We heard the following sentiment from community members repeatedly: ‘Diversity and inclusion at the City of Edmonton is just lip service, not a truly meaningful action.’ Systemic change, accountability, and transparency are required to change this perception.”