Evidence of meeting #62 for Citizenship and Immigration in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was brunswick.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Laurie Hunter  Director, Economic Immigration Policy and Programs, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Ümit Kiziltan  Director General, Research and Evaluation, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Corinne Prince  Director General, Integration and Foreign Credentials Referral Office, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Donald Arseneault  Minister of Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour, Government of New Brunswick
Sonny Gallant  Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning, Government of Prince Edward Island
Charles Ayles  Assistant Deputy Minister, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Population Growth Division, Government of New Brunswick
Neil Stewart  Deputy Minister, Workforce and Advanced Learning, Government of Prince Edward Island
David Cashaback  Director, Immigration Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Michael MacDonald  Director General, Immigration Program Guidance, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Christopher Meyers  Director General, Finance, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

5:20 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Population Growth Division, Government of New Brunswick

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj

You have twenty seconds.

5:20 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Population Growth Division, Government of New Brunswick

Charles Ayles

We've had discussions on how many hours constitute a full-time year. If you could get 10 months per year with—I don't know what the hours are—1,000 hours, would that constitute a full-time job? We're still working on that definition to see if we can change it. So far, we're still in discussion mode.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Thank you very much.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj

Thank you.

Mr. Tilson, you have five minutes please.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Thank you.

Mr. Arseneault, you said in your opening statement:

People leaving New Brunswick for other provinces continues to be a primary reason for low or negative population growth rates, especially in rural areas. This is closely tied to unemployment in New Brunswick while boosting the economies of other provinces.

My question is to you and perhaps Mr. Gallant as well. Are you looking to the federal government for financial assistance when it comes to programs to increase both immigration levels to Atlantic Canada as well as the retention of immigrants when they arrive there, and—and I don't want to get into a debate with you, but I'm going to say it anyway and you'll challenge me—to address the unemployment that exists, particularly in new Brunswick and perhaps in Prince Edward Island as well?

Mr. Arseneault, and then Mr. Gallant.

5:20 p.m.

Minister of Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour, Government of New Brunswick

Donald Arseneault

On your initial question, there's no money tied to the Atlantic immigration pilot. That's why our government put forward $2.5 million in the last budget to assist the work that we're doing on this pilot.

What we're looking for from the federal government is to look and understand, and to work as a partner with Atlantic Canada, more specifically with New Brunswick.

As I said earlier, this is something that we've talked about for many years. Unfortunately, nothing was done about this. Now, the government has understood the challenge that we have, the aging demographics, and we can have 2,000 new Canadians per year for the next three years, over and above the allocation of the provincial nominee program. In New Brunswick, it's 1,050 per year.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Are you looking for financial assistance or some financial plan?

May 29th, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.

Minister of Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour, Government of New Brunswick

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Minister Gallant?

5:25 p.m.

Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning, Government of Prince Edward Island

Sonny Gallant

Rather than financial assistance, we would be looking at a more coordinated effort between the federal and provincial governments, which is part of our recommendations.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Returning to the issue of unemployment, if you increase the immigration levels or asylum claimant levels, will that displace jobs? Will that displace people looking for jobs in Prince Edward Island or New Brunswick?

5:25 p.m.

Minister of Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour, Government of New Brunswick

Donald Arseneault

I don't believe it will. We're not forgetting New Brunswickers. If anything, we're investing more today than we've ever done.

In terms of investing in New Brunswickers, we understand that we need to provide them with opportunities. We have pilot projects all across our province with social assistance clients, identifying those who we feel have the ability, if given the opportunity and the proper training, to enter the workforce. We do have those kinds of programs. Last year we initiated free tuition at public universities and colleges for families with incomes of $60,000 or less. That gives opportunity to people who weren't even thinking of pursuing a post-secondary education and entering into a career. That's a huge program, the first in the country as well. We furthered those programs this year.

We're not forgetting New Brunswickers. We feel that in some instances they need more training, and as a government we're trying to offer that to them.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Can you tell us the unemployment rate in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island?

5:25 p.m.

Minister of Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour, Government of New Brunswick

Donald Arseneault

It's 9%, give or take.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Minister Gallant.

5:25 p.m.

Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning, Government of Prince Edward Island

Sonny Gallant

It's 10.1%. And in answer to your question on the displacement effect, our economy is growing, our unemployment rate has dropped by 1%, and we have created about 1,500 jobs.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

It's still higher in both provinces than in the rest of Canada.

5:25 p.m.

Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning, Government of Prince Edward Island

Sonny Gallant

It's because that's trendy and that's our seasonality curve.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

It's not trendy, it's a fact.

5:25 p.m.

Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning, Government of Prince Edward Island

Sonny Gallant

Well, it's a fact, but it's due to our—

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

We have to talk about your employment if we're going to talk about encouraging immigrants and asylum seekers to come to your provinces. We have to talk about your economy. So far, to be quite frank, you're not convincing me that your economy is that hot.

Mr. Arseneault, you like to fight me. Can you comment on that?

5:25 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

5:25 p.m.

Minister of Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour, Government of New Brunswick

Donald Arseneault

I've talked a lot. I figure....

5:25 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Workforce and Advanced Learning, Government of Prince Edward Island

Neil Stewart

Is it okay if I make some comments?