With a populous and impending generation of retiring workers, Fredericton focuses on regional immigration as a means to supplement their workforce and bolster their booming economy.
"If we get the business explosion that we would expect, it's going to be critical to get the immigration and skilled worker pieces," Fredericton Chamber of Commerce (FCC) president Ron Forsythe warns. "We don't have the sufficient population to sustain the growth from within."
According to Forsythe, the labour shortage is notably elevated in trades like plumbing and electrical work. "We're finding the community colleges can't generate those kinds of graduates quick enough," he explains.
With one million feet of retail and commercial development over the next two years, a new convention centre, parking development, two fresh ice surfaces, and a thriving information technology sector, Fredericton has a bona fide human resources problem on its hands. "Our population is aging and our young people are leaving, so we have to be proactive and deal with that now," says Laura O'Blenis, the 2005/2006 FCC chamber president.
The major problem that Fredericton faces is in finding qualified professionals to fill its available positions. Enterprise Fredericton and the FCC are jointly discussing possible solutions that would address this issue, such as credential recognition for immigrants and internal migration.