Saskatchewan Population Up – Swiftcurrentonline.com
The economic boom in Saskatchewan continues to draw more people to our province.
The population grew by 4,073 in the first quarter of 2013 to reach a new all-time high of 1,093,880. Saskatchewan’s rate of growth continues to be the second-fastest among all the provinces, behind only Alberta.
“I think it’s really a testament to the strength of the provincial economy,” said Rupen Pandya, Assistant Deputy Minister, Labour Market Development for the Ministry of the Economy.
The growth was driven primarily by net international migration of 3,077.
Rupen Pandya Interview”We’ve seen increasing levels of immigration to the province over the course of 2007 to the present,” Pandya said. “This is principally because of the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program which is an employer direct high skill immigration program that’s meant to respond to skilled labour shortages in the economy.”
With the addition of so many new immigrants comes the effort to make sure they’re comfortable here and want to stay. Agencies like the Newcomer Welcome Centre in Swift Current play a part in that and the government also has to do their part.
“There needs to be a lot of attention paid to how you structre settlement programming and how you integrate that mainstream government programming that you and I might take for granted so it can be responsive to a potential newcomer,” Pandya said. “I’m happy to report to you though that we have one of the highest retentiion rates of newcomers in all of Canada.”
Pandya said the welcome centres are meant to be the first point of contact in helping immigrants get settled. In Swift Current they’ve registered over 270 new immigrants over the 2012-13 fiacal year. That number only accounts for those who came to the welcome centre on their own and doesn’t include any children.
“It’s a great time to be in Saskatchewan and more and more people are recognizing this,” said Economy Minister Bill Boyd. “Our government is working hard to ensure that this growth continues and that we are meeting both the challenges and opportunities of a growing province.”
Boyd said Saskatchewan’s population will likely surpass 1.1 million people for the first time later this year and the province is on track to reach 1.2 million people by 2020. In a recent report on Saskatchewan, the Conference Board of Canada said Saskatchewan’s population could reach 1.4 million by 2035.