Importance of A Multicultural Society and How Fredericton Speaks Welcome

  • Mara
  • 2018-04-03

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FREDERICTON'S CULTURE OF INNOVATION

Gleaner Column

Importance of A Multicultural Society and How Fredericton Speaks Welcome

Over the next three years, Canada is expecting to welcome roughly one million newcomers, and due to the strength and mobility of the country’s labour market, immigration will be at an all-time high. Newcomers play a critical role in economic development: adding skilled talent to our workforce, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, increasing human capital, and creating a culturally rich and robust landscape. Canadians are facing the dawn of an aging population, as well as a  significant decrease in birth rates - an aspect that raises tremendous concern about filling the jobs of the future and sparking innovative output. Without immigration, our population would find itself in a dangerous decline, seriously compromising the sustainability and welfare of our economy. In this month’s column, we would like to highlight the importance of immigration, why many newcomers are choosing Fredericton as their destination of choice, and the resources and partnerships that Fredericton has developed.

Fredericton offers a competitive advantage that is far greater than just affordable housing, waterfront properties, and short commute times; Fredericton promises a safe, family-friendly community, unmatched recreational infrastructure, nine educational institutions, award-winning quality of life, and a cost competitive business environment. In the last census, Fredericton was shown to have attracted 30 per cent of the province’s newcomers. As such, it is essential that we continue to put processes in place to help new residents settle and integrate into our community. The Local Immigration Partnership of Fredericton (LIPF), led by Ignite Fredericton, is a community-driven solution that is dedicated to addressing challenges faced in immigrant integration, retention and settlement. The LIPF works closely with various stakeholders and community organizations, including the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce and the Multicultural Association of Fredericton, to ensure gaps are identified and addressed as part of the Fredericton Immigration Strategy. The LIPF operates under the leadership of the Newcomer Partnership Council (NPC), a catalyst group put in place to lead the work of the LIP and to oversee the implementation of the immigration strategy. Furthermore, targeted working committees were established with community partners and organizations to implement the immigration strategy effectively and in a timely fashion.

Immigrants enrich our communities in many ways, be it through business and job creation, addressing labour and skill shortages, or by weaving diversity into the cultural fabric of our community. With more newcomers calling Fredericton home, existing residents are introduced to a variety of new food, music, art, and traditions, stimulating curiosity and discussion across different cultural groups. Eager to adopt our customs, and equally as eager to share traditions from their respective countries, newcomers have transformed Canada into the cultural mosaic of today. Known to be motivated, entrepreneurial, and highly skilled, immigrant entrepreneurs are another reason we continue to grow as a collective. Not only do they boost foreign trade ties, but they also contribute greatly to business income, and bring a unique perspective that can revolutionize our existing landscape. Aside from creating jobs within newly established ventures, having an international workforce is just as advantageous to existing companies as it is to the local business climate. Hiring skilled foreign workers helps to address workforce shortages, injects cultural diversity into the workplace, and encourages creative disruption.

With a significant percentage of our population expected to retire in the coming years, it is essential that the Fredericton community embraces the gift of diversity, and that we work together in creating a nurturing and welcoming environment for all. We need foreign talent in order to sustain continued economic growth, and with initiatives like the LIPF we’re creating the perfect environment in which to do so. Lastly, as Frederictonians we must continue to see immigration as the key to our prosperity, and we mustn’t forget that multiculturalism has helped shape Canada into the country we all know and love. Creating a welcoming community and making it rewarding for newcomers to “Choose Fredericton” has to be our first priority.

Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch
www.ignitefredericton.com

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