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In New Brunswick, the challenges of integration

With its aging population and its low birth rate, New Brunswick is in need of immigrants. To attract them and to fix them on the spot. the title of The action

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In New Brunswick, the challenges of integration

With its aging population and its low birth rate, New Brunswick is in need of immigrants. To attract them and to fix them on the spot.

the title of The action plan of the provincial government, unveiled at the end of August, is unequivocal : "A new beginning : The strategy of demographic growth of the New Brunswick 2019-2024". This eastern province of Canada is facing a major challenge : in 2018, the New Brunswick had a population smaller and older in Canada. From 2013 to 2018, the province was also ranked in the second-to-last place among the provinces and territories of the country in terms of population growth (+1.6 per cent).

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Result : in the course of the next ten years, about 120 000 jobs will need to be filled and the government is counting on an influx of workforce external to rebalance the balance. "We know that immigration is crucial to help us increase our population and meet the needs of area employers", written thus, in the preamble of the action plan, the minister of post-secondary Education, Training and Labour of New Brunswick. The province therefore intends to accommodate up to 7 500 new arrivals per year by 2024 - a target that will carry the share of the annual immigration to roughly 1% of the population. Objective corollary announced : "Support the retention of newcomers in New Brunswick with the retention rate to 85% by 2024."

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A strategy to attract effective

The province is, in effect, not a good student of this field : a report published in march 2018 by the public policy Forum shows that the rate of retention of immigrants in New Brunswick is 52 %. With the exception of Ile-du-Prince-Edouard, where the figure does not exceed 18%, the other atlantic provinces are doing better (72% in Nova Scotia, 56% in Newfoundland and Labrador). As for the rest of Canada, the rate never drops below 80%.

"in the last fifteen years, the provincial government has not ceased to speak of strategies of attraction, and it worked, since New Brunswick is known more and more and that the number of immigrants admitted into the province has increased (1). Certainly, it is bringing people in, but it is even better to keep them," says Abdel Kabi, which has carried out a study on the subject by collecting the last three years the word of several French-speaking immigrants who have had difficulties to integrate.

"Being myself an immigrant, I've always been interested in everything related to immigration," says this Moroccan origin, who came to Canada sixteen years ago, has lived successively in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and is now based in Gatineau (Québec). "My career has allowed me to rub shoulders with people from different cultural communities and with varied backgrounds - students, skilled workers, refugees, etc, My research is the outcome of the discussions that I have had as well with the new Brunswickers with the immigrants, all backed by studies and statistics."

A bilingual province... in theory

Our man has listed all the reasons that may explain the "rupture" of some immigrants with the province that they had chosen. "Of course, New Brunswick has assets : its natural landscape, enchanting, its security dimension, the great heart of its people, and its real estate market attractive, recalls first of all the book training. But there are three problems that recur often in the testimonies of the immigrants. First, the non-recognition of their experience non-canadian employers are quite sensitive to cold, they do not seek to understand what the immigrant did in his former life and would prefer to give priority to a person in the corner. Second, the lack of support from support organizations and associations : the immigrants find that they can answer their questions of a socio-cultural, but less help in their job search. And finally, the reality of bilingualism."

the Only officially bilingual province of Canada, New Brunswick is in effect a lot on this argument in its communication strategy, in particular for French-speaking immigrants. "It is true that, if you are French and you want to learn English, New Brunswick is the province's ideal," stresses Abdel Kabi. But this does not mean that you can live only in French, because there is no obligation to be bilingual... bilingualism is institutional and not individual."

This is why some of the new entrants déchantent once on place. Salim, an immigrant of moroccan origin questioned by Abdel Kabi, has expressed his surprise at the need to know the English for, " said he, "to order Mcdonalds at the drive". "In Dieppe, where I lived, the French language is present, but especially to the Saturday market... I moved to Gatineau, I work in Ottawa and, frankly, I find Ottawa is the most bilingual Moncton," says this Canadian adoption. Same feeling for Aurélien, who, since his installation in Fredericton, regrets the lack of presence of the French, particularly in the medical sector. "I used to go to the emergency room once, a chance that I spoke English because they had no French-speaking in their night team", he says. Not to mention the need to master the language of Shakespeare to find a job...

"Give to the immigrant the human dimension that it deserves"

If some of the newcomers also regret the lack of social and cultural activities in the province, the issue of retention is related to the way in which the New Brunswick talking about immigration, writes Abdel Kabi. "In the speech, immigrants are often exploited, as if their only use was to fill positions. Of course, this is the case, but their contribution is not only economic. It is also a cultural, social, etc, Give to the immigrant the human dimension that it deserves, this is what will create the sense of belonging. Because the job is not all : if you do not feel comfortable in a community, we are going to see elsewhere."

Among the other possible solutions, the author recommends the creation of a specific ministry of immigration of New Brunswick, the assessment and the "update" of the organizations that help immigrants, or the combination of integration services. Because, ensures Abdel Kabi, if the province has "undeniably failed to meet its immigrants, not all is lost..." A condition, " he said, echoing the title of his study, act "now... and now."

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(1) The number of immigrants in New Brunswick has almost quadrupled in 15 years, from 2435 newcomers between 2001-2005 9325 between 2011-2016 (Source : Statistics Canada)

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