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Bronx Community College ​I want to talk to you a little bit about history about New Brunswick a story of progress if you go back 40 and 50 years New Brunswick has made enormous strides over that period in 1960 the average income in the province was the spread between New Brunswick and the rest of the country was forty percent our average income was forty percent lower that spread has declined to eleven percent since nineteen sixty the number of people below the low income cutoff has been cut in half the quality of our infrastructure whether it's roads or schools or hospitals or telecommunications is much much better now than it has been in the past so we've made great progress great progress in industry great progress in social policy great progress in environmental policy so it really has been a success story but something happening in 2008 our economy stopped growing so you will recall that across Canada we did face the Great Recession it was a recession across the country but after 2008 every other province to some level or other came out of that recession and many of them came out very strongly we didn't our economy remained flat and has remained flat since 2008 no real economic growth since 2008 and at the same time again right around the same time as 2008 our workforce started to shrink for the first time in history so if you go back to previous recessions recessions in the 70s 80s and 90s after the recession was done the workforce started to grow strongly young people joined the workforce by the thousands and that didn't happen after 2008 the the rate now the more people are exiting the workforce than entering the workforce and we believe I believe that that is really starting to cause a serious economic challenge for the province and it's becoming a drag on our future economy if we cannot solve our workforce problem if we cannot get the workforce growing again I believe we will continue to see a stagnant economy and that will many many ripple effects one of the big challenges why we all need to be concerned about this is that it will eventually touch us all if we don't have a strong economic foundation in the province if we don't have a significant number of people working and creating labor income and paying taxes we risk funding the things like education and health care these are very important things that we care about in this province having good health care good education good road infrastructure good public services a strong social safety net all of these things rely on a strong economic foundation and as we've seen in recent months it forces governments a weak economy forces governments to make tough decisions about taxes and about spending cuts so we what we need to do is figure out a way to get back to economic growth at least moderate economic growth and that will require addressing this workforce challenge so if you go back to the 1970s again a little bit of history New Brunswick was the second youngest province in the country is measured by median age Alberta was an older province than us the average age of a typical person in 1971 was about 23 so the average person in the province was about 23 years old now if you go about if you fast forward to 2015 the average age is about 45 so that may or may not sound like much depending on your perspective but that from a demographic perspective that is a fundamental shift and yes the shift is occurring across the Canada in some respects but as you can see from the the Alberta trend line we're decoupling from the rest of Canada and in fact we are now the second oldest province a Newfoundland and Labrador shares the distinction of being the oldest province but we are the second oldest province in Canada and of course we are just heading into the wave of boomer retirement so without some structural shift or change in our demographics we are just going to continue to get older and that's going to continue to put pressure on our labor market in on our economy so for example we estimate that about 80,000 people tire within the next 10 years or so now that's a fluid numbered a lot of people are going to retire later and that's a good thing but just in general because of the wave of baby boomers heading toward retirement we know that a lot will be retiring tens and tens of thousands and we know that the there's not enough uptake to fill in the gaps that they will leave in the workforce so one of the things that we're really concerned about is are many of our export industries now why this matters is because export industries actually bring money into the province so the product or service is created in the province sold outside the province and money is brought into the province to grow the economy if those industries suffer if they reduce their economic activity and their economic contribution to the province it actually reduces the size of the economy reduces the tax base and reduces again our ability to pay for public services in public infrastructure so we're very concerned about these at-risk export


industries they are industries like blueberries which is a fast-growing industry in the province but starting to face labor shortages seafoods aquaculture fish processing of course you've probably heard about some of these stories in the news the inability the challenges that these companies are facing trying to find labor even industries like traditional agriculture in our potato sector are starting to really face labour shortages but it goes beyond that even our manufacturing sector in the last 10 years we've lost over 10,000 manufacturing jobs some of those jobs have been lost to technological change and productivity improvements but a lot of them have been lost because the companies have not been able to find workers and it even extends to our professional sectors so our business service sector or call centre sector which is strong here in Moncton has lost over 10,000 jobs since 2006 many of the jobs have been lost because the companies have not been able to source workers even our trucking sector most of the big trucking companies in the province now are struggling to find people that want to work in the trucking industry that's a little bit counterintuitive when you think about the fact that we have a relatively high unemployment rate and the fact that a lot of our young people can leave New Brunswick to find and build their careers elsewhere so this is a bit of a paradox it's a bit of a challenge but it is true that we have a relatively high unemployment rate it's a little bit higher than ten percent in the most recent labour force survey and unemployment is quite high among young people this is another challenge we have a lot of industries facing shortages and yet we have a lot of young unemployed people but when you look a little closer you see that a lot of those young people that are unemployed are actually unemployed while they're in school and so it's very difficult to think that they would be able to feed a lot of these industries that are facing shortages right now because they're in school and even after they graduate they may not have the skills or the interest in working in some of these job industries that are we're facing shortages we also have relatively high unemployment among our older population or 55 and up but it's the same challenge many of the people that are unemployed are not skilled or have the interest to work in the industries where we have right now many of the shortages and one of the other things that we're facing too is that many of our young people are leaving the province because they don't want to work in the jobs that are available right now and that's just a fact young people are more mobile now than they've ever been before and that's a good thing they go out they see the world many of them will find their way back here hopefully we'll find their way back here but at the end of the day we are we are facing this reality that people will not stay for jobs that don't pay high wages a lot of people won't say so i have a statistic about this so let me show you this this chart shows the change in the number of persons under the age of 35 by the reported income level on their tax returns so basically showing the change between 2008 and 2013 in the number of people reporting less than 35 thousand dollars in total income and that number is actually dropped by fourteen percent so there's been a fourteen percent decline in the number of young people reporting thirty-five thousand dollars in income and below at the same time there's been a thirty-four percent increase in the number of young people reporting income of 50,000 and up now why this is significant because that number is actually larger than the growth rate across Canada so for jobs that are paying fifty thousand dollars and more they are able to retain young people in the province but a lot of our export industries for a variety of reasons don't pay high wages so that is our that is our challenge that's one of our real challenges is making sure we can have the labor to feed these industries and support these industries and allow that export revenue to come in and bolster our economy and there are things we can do from a Productivity perspective to push wages up at some of these industries nationally and internationally are not high wage industries so this is a paradox we have young people that are unemployed but they don't necessarily want to work in jobs that pay forty thousand or thirty thousand dollars a year now Canada has used immigration as an economic growth driver for decades across all spectrums of the labor market low-skilled semi-skilled high skill that's it has been Canada's policy for many many decades to bring in people to feed the workforce and grow the economy if you look just since 2008 the canadian labour market has grown by one point 16 million people just since 2008 the new brunswick labour market is shrunk by 4,100 so across the country and the bulk of this growth is coming from immigration so we see it across Canada we have to think about that for us here in New Brunswick so a couple of quick charts on that so if you look at Toronto for example the share of work all of the workers in the contact center industry in Toronto fifty-five percent of first-generation immigrants only five percent in New Brunswick so for Toronto has figured out that if it wants to grow industries key industries it's going to have to bring in workers and it's done a very very good job at that if you look at the manufacturing workers workforce seventy-six percent of everybody that's working in manufacturing occupations in the Greater Toronto Area are first-generation immigrants seventy-six percent three out of every four workers it's three percent in New Brunswick in fact we have manufacturing companies that are closing plants in New Brunswick and moving them to Toronto because they can get immigrant workers in Toronto at the same wage levels they were paying in New Brunswick another great example is the Manitoba example so if you look at the the workforce growth or decline in New Brunswick by those that were born in Canada versus those that are immigrants


there's been an 8100 decline among those born in New Brunswick so the labor force in New Brunswick among those born in Canada's actually declined by 80-100 it's and it's increased by 3700 among the immigrant population but if you look at manitoba which is roughly the same size as New Brunswick slightly larger it's actually seen a similar decline in its born in New Brunswick they were born in Canada workforce but it's seen 10 times the growth in its immigrant workforce so they were ahead of us by 10 or 15 years and they've done a great job of attracting immigrants across the spectrum to help grow their economy and strengthen their their economic foundation as a as a province so Canada this year is expecting to attract 305,000 immigrants that's the level the government is set that it says we need to ensure that our economy can continue to grow new brunswick will probably attract less than 1% so this is a fundamental struggle for us as we look to grow our economy and create a strong foundation for the future where will our new immigrants work well as I said before we hope they will work in our export industries I'm going to do a good job of targeting the types of workers were the types of skills that we need for our export industries we also need immigrant investors if you think about our farming sector we're going to target and we'd like to bring in a lot more farmers to work and immigrate work in from bringing immigrants to work in our farming sector but there's also other industries if you look at many of our businesses are facing succession challenges and we think immigration can be a way to help him bring in new investment into our province we also think there's opportunity to bring immigrant workers into a home care sector too many New Brunswickers have to go in to institutionalize care at a certain age we think there's a lot more opportunity to bring in workers to help that sector of our economy as well and then in the longer term we want to use immigration to rebalance our demographics so we want to have younger a younger population coming in to balance the older population as it ages and make sure we have a strong labor market and ultimately economic foundation so that we can continue to have the public services the quality public services that we care about in this province around the province but I also want to point out quickly that immigration itself creates economic growth that's the little secret if we had been attracting immigrants over the last 20 30 40 50 years we would have a stronger economy today i estimate that every thousand immigrant families that are earning the average household income in the province generate enough demand in the province to crew to support 1500 jobs jobs in retail and restaurants and service sectors across the economy lawyers doctors pharmacists it's creating demand but because our population hasn't been growing because our economy is flat we're not creating the demand for these highly skilled jobs in the economy and so immigration will actually help us help us do that but are we wet ready for a wave of immigrants I think this is the question we all have to ask ourselves are we ready we've seen a few a slight increase here in the Moncton area and certainly in the urban areas but we haven't seen a significant wave of immigration in a very long time in fact the last time the province saw enough immigration to significantly change the population dynamic was actually in the mid 19th century it's around 1850 1860 that's the last time we saw a major push of immigration into our province so that's a pretty long time 150 years ago I don't think anybody in this room was there in fact if you look at the data from the national household survey over ninety percent of all New Brunswickers are at least third-generation Canadian that means they were born in Canada their parents were born in Canada and their parents parents were born in Canada and then many in many cases many generations beyond that in the northeastern part of the province nearly a hundred percent ninety-eight percent of everybody living in northeastern New Brunswick is at least a third generation Canadian ninety percent of everybody living in moncton is at least a third generation so the point I'm trying to make is there's not a lot of familiarity with immigration we're not that used to it and if we're going to ramp up the number of immigrants coming here if we want to keep them here if we want to integrate them into our communities and into our society it's going to take a change in how we do things I would argue the time to act is now so some people say to me well why don't you just convince young people to have more kids and that'll solve our problem actually it won't because our problem is going to occur now over the next 10 15 20 years that's where the real bubble is occurring if we can't solve our labor market challenges in this in the short window then it's going to it's going to it's going to really affect our economy moving forward so sure it's great for young people to have more kids that's wonderful but it's not going to solve our problem in the short term so I would argue we need to boost our immigrant levels from this is across the province around 2000 today little more than 2,000 a year now we need to get up to I would argue about 1% of the population which would be 7,500 per year and I think we need to sustain that out for 10 15 or 20 years and I think that will really help solidify the economy and the fiscal foundation for the province and ultimately I think immigration will make new brunswick a better place it will help us position ourselves in this new global economy we need to do that we need to see where new brunswick even though it's a small province we need to see where we fit in the global economy and I think attracting a more multicultural population will help us do that thank you very much you School of Law.


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