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New Brunswick Cities See Record Immigration Year In 2019

Inside the YMCA'S sewing class for newcomers. Image: Submitted

New Brunswick received a record 6,000 new permanent residents last year, a 30 percent increase from 4,610 in 2018, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The figure was expected, as the province was already hitting record numbers since the data for the first 11 months was published.

“Now that we are seeing more success in the attraction of newcomers, all levels of government and settlement partners need to ensure these individuals and families have the support they need to settle, belong, and stay in our province,” New Brunswick Multicultural Council Executive Director Alex LeBlanc said in a release.

“These newcomers are coming to participate in our economy, but they will only stay if they are meaningfully included and can build good lives in our communities.”

LeBlanc has previously told Huddle that those supports include ensuring the availability of affordable housing, and increased resources for settlement agencies that help newcomers with everything from navigating the workforce to figuring out the school system for their children.

RELATED: N.B. Sets Record For Immigrants Who Settled As Permanent Residents In 2019

Moncton and Fredericton continue to lead the province in total immigration numbers, receiving 1,915 and 1,570 permanent residents each. The figure grew 33 percent from the previous year for Moncton and 6.8 percent for Fredericton.

Saint John came in third with 1,035 permanent residents, but that marks a 24 percent increase from 2018.

Interestingly, the 2019 data shows a trend of growing immigration outside the three large cities. Some 24.6 percent of newcomers went to smaller cities last year, an increase from 14.4 percent in 2017 and 18.9 percent in 2018.

Miramichi and Edmundston saw the highest percentage increase in  2019. Miramichi welcomed a record 140 people last year, a 133 per cent increase since 2018. Edmundston followed with 135 newcomers, marking  125 percent increase in a year.

“The eight cities of New Brunswick are thrilled by the news that the hard work to attract more newcomers to our communities is paying off,” said Adam Lordon, Mayor of Miramichi and president of the Cities of New Brunswick Association, in the release. “Our cities recognize the importance of welcoming more people to participate in our economy and enrich our communities.”

Lordon said Miramichi has been working with its Chamber of Commerce and Multicultural Association, as well as WorkingNB and other partners, to build an immigration and population growth plan.

“We would far rather tackle the challenges and opportunities of growth over the challenges of decline,” he said.

Edmundston and the surrounding communities in the Madawaska region have also “been working hard on a ‘Welcoming Communities’ project that will help us attract, settle, and retain more newcomers,” Mayor Cyrille Simard said in the release. “We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the province, so our employers are facing serious labour shortages.”

A bulk of the newcomers, 5,060, are economic immigrants through the Provincial Nominee Program and Atlantic Immigration Pilot. Those coming through Atlantic Immigration Pilot increased nearly 175 percent since 2018.

The rest are government-assisted refugees (420), privately-sponsored refugees (70), and family members sponsored by immigrants who are already in Canada (425).