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P.E.I.’s new population growth framework nears completion: Here’s what to expect

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Prince Edward Island’s new inhabitants framework is nearing completion, mentioned the director of financial and inhabitants development.

Kal Whitnell mentioned throughout a standing committee on Oct. 10 that the method of making the framework has progressed past stakeholder consultations and suggestions assortment and is now within the remaining levels.

“The plan is simply across the nook,” he advised the standing committee on schooling and financial development.

The framework was introduced by Jenn Redmond, minister of workforce, superior studying and inhabitants, again in June when she mentioned within the P.E.I. legislature that the province was within the strategy of creating a brand new plan to handle inhabitants development.

Missing specifics

Inexperienced MLA Peter Bevan-Baker mentioned a number of months have handed because the announcement, but the presentation on Tuesday lacked specifics relating to a transparent inhabitants plan.

He burdened the urgency of a transparent technique to deal with the challenges arising from the Island’s quickly rising inhabitants, which is straining important companies, significantly in well being care, housing and schooling.

“I discover the presentation deeply upsetting and disconcerting,” Bevan-Baker mentioned. “Right here we’re 4 months later. And … I hear no sense of a plan right here, no sense of a method.”

As of July 1, 2023, P.E.I.’s inhabitants is estimated to be 173,787, representing a yearly enhance of 6,599 individuals or a 3.9 per cent annual development charge since July 2022, in keeping with Statistics Canada’s annual demographic estimates launched final month.

This was the best annual development charge for P.E.I. on document and the second highest amongst all provinces and territories, trailing solely Alberta at 4 per cent.

Earlier in Could, the province’s inhabitants projections predicted a inhabitants of 200,000 in 2030.

Core issues

Whitnell mentioned numerous organizations, together with sector councils, municipalities and settlement teams, have participated in session classes to form the brand new inhabitants framework.

The province additionally commissioned UPEI’s school of island research to conduct a survey involving greater than 1,200 present and former residents. As well as, an advisory committee on inhabitants has been established, comprising representatives from each division.

“The consultations are getting used to tell the brand new inhabitants framework and take a look at the assorted issues that have to be thought of as we transfer ahead,” Whitnell mentioned.

A kind of issues is making certain that public companies and infrastructure, corresponding to well being care and housing, can sustain with the rising inhabitants, he mentioned.

Workforce growth is one other massive focus, which includes encouraging extra folks to pursue expert trades, particularly in building, and attracting and retaining immigrant staff.

Green MLA Peter Bevan-Baker expresses concerns over the lack of specifics in the presentation during the standing committee. - Thinh Nguyen/SaltWire
Inexperienced MLA Peter Bevan-Baker expresses issues over the dearth of specifics within the presentation through the standing committee. – Thinh Nguyen/SaltWire

Whitnell famous {that a} recurring theme through the session course of was the significance of making a way of belonging for brand new residents, given the province’s more and more numerous inhabitants.

“We have to make it possible for we’re taking concerted efforts by way of ensuring that individuals really feel comfy right here, folks really feel welcome. And so they have a way of place and inclusion as we transfer ahead.”

Throughout the assembly, Liberal MLA Gordon McNeilly requested Whitnell in regards to the timing of the framework’s launch, and whether or not it could be obtainable earlier than the snow flies.

“Unsure when this primary snowfall goes to be however sure, hopefully earlier than the primary snowfall, as a result of I would not assume it needs to be snowing right here by November timeframe,” Whitnell mentioned.

‘The true wildcard’

One issue affecting P.E.I.’s inhabitants development that’s troublesome to trace is the motion of individuals between provinces.

In recent times, interprovincial migration has been a major supply of inhabitants development, following worldwide migration.

As for the annual inhabitants enhance of 6,599 people in P.E.I. in 2022-23, P.E.I. skilled a web achieve of 1,587 individuals via interprovincial migration, in comparison with a web achieve of 5,187 via worldwide migration.

The long run inhabitants development of P.E.I. will hinge on these two elements, in keeping with the province’s most up-to-date inhabitants report.

Jeff Younger, director on the Workplace of Immigration, mentioned that in comparison with worldwide migration, monitoring interprovincial migration could be difficult.

“The true wildcard … is that if any individual’s in Canada on a brief foundation with an open work allow, say a postgraduate work allow, a spousal work allow with another person, they’re free to journey inside Canada and achieve employment anyplace. And people are those that we’ve a tougher time monitoring since you actually do not know when any individual’s crossing the bridge to return to P.E.I.,” he mentioned.

Thinh Nguyen is a enterprise reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He could be reached by e mail at [email protected] and adopted on X @thinhnguyen4291.

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