Alberta luring skilled workers from East Coast


Hank C Cheyenne
#1
Economic boom in Alberta luring skilled workers from East Coast
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FREDERICTON (CP) - Politicians and labour experts in Atlantic Canada are increasingly worried about the exodus of economic refugees from the region who are drawn by the promise of big bucks and golden opportunities in Alberta.

Going down the road may not be a new phenomenon, but these days Alberta is like a giant labour sponge, sucking skilled workers from hard-luck provinces like New Brunswick where plant closures and pulp mill shutdowns have created a sense of economic gloom.

Ron Christie, 51, packed up his family and moved to Alberta after the pulp mill in Nackawic, N.B., went bankrupt last year, leaving 400 people without work or pensions.

Christie, a heavy-equipment mechanic, has started his own business servicing oil field companies. Now, relatives from New Brunswick are following him to Alberta.

"There are so many opportunities here," Christie says in an interview from his home in Grande Prairie, Alta.

"My son just moved out here and started work at a retread plant. Already they're giving him a big raise. Even at McDonald's, the full-time rate is $11.25 an hour."

Christie says he may go back to New Brunswick one of these days - to retire. He says he won't be going back to work in shaky industries propped up by political expediency and taxpayers' loans.

"It's a whole different attitude towards work out here," he says. "Businesses aren't waiting around, looking for government handouts."

Atlantic politicians are caught in a bind, trying to be both positive, and realistic, about the situation.

Joe McGuire, minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, notes ruefully that Fort McMurray - the centre of Alberta's oil boom - houses the largest population of Newfoundlanders outside St. John's.

"If we don't have people, we don't have an economy," says McGuire, who has launched a cross-country speaking tour to counter Atlantic Canada's image as a hapless region.

"With so many young people leaving and with our aging population, the challenge for the future is how do we keep our young people here, how do we bring them back and how do we integrate immigrants into our communities?"

Figures from Statistics Canada's most recent five-year census, released in 2002, show that Newfoundland's population declined by seven per cent - greater than any other province - between 1996 and 2001. The populations of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were also shrinking and aging.

While Prince Edward Island's population grew by 0.5 per cent, or about 250 people, the province's median age was rising faster than the national average.

Experts often suggest that Atlantic Canada should look to Ireland's economic revival as a model, but politicians like McGuire don't like the emphasis on the tax cuts that helped fuel the Celtic Tiger.

That's not how expatriate Maritimers like Christie feel about the tax break that comes with living in Alberta.

Among other things, there is no provincial sales tax in Alberta, a huge break when compared with the 15 per cent HST Atlantic Canadians pay on everything from their soaring power bills to candy.

"The cost of living is less here," says Christie. "Sure housing is a bit more expensive, but everything else is a lot cheaper, especially groceries and gas."

Brian Lee Crowley of the Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, a right-leaning policy think-tank, says Atlantic Canada is being held back by outdated political strategies that depend on high taxes and Ottawa-centred regional development programs.

Crowley recently tried to hire a man from Ontario for a job with AIMS, but the prospective employee was shocked to learn he and his wife would have to pay an additional $5,000 a year in income tax in Nova Scotia.

"Our high taxes are counterproductive," Crowley says. "Taxes have become a major focus of competitiveness among different provinces and countries.

"Those places that have really focused on taxes - Alberta would be one, Ontario would be another and even British Columbia - are all examples of provinces that have used the tax system very successfully to signal that they are anxious to attract business and investment."

Tom Mann of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour says Atlantic Canada is caught in a vicious cycle. The region's colleges and universities educate skilled professionals, who are then lured to places like Alberta by higher salaries, lower taxes and better opportunities.

"We have to have jobs here, we have to have a job base," Mann says. "Until that happens, the exodus will continue.

"It's a question of where do you break the cycle? We can't attract jobs without having an educated workforce, but once we educate the workforce we run the risk of losing those skilled workers."

ŠThe Canadian Press, 2005
 
missile
#2
Nothing new there. We have been moving west to find work for 50 years.
 
Reverend Blair
#3
Quote:

Tom Mann of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour says Atlantic Canada is caught in a vicious cycle. The region's colleges and universities educate skilled professionals, who are then lured to places like Alberta by higher salaries, lower taxes and better opportunities.

That's Alberta using other provinces taxes and education systems to subsidise themselves. Perhaps the province of Alberta should quit whining about transfer payments. They are simply paying for what they take out.
 
no1important
#4
I do notice the Winnipeg has ads in the papers here looking for skilled trades people.
 
MMMike
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Reverend Blair

Quote:

Tom Mann of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour says Atlantic Canada is caught in a vicious cycle. The region's colleges and universities educate skilled professionals, who are then lured to places like Alberta by higher salaries, lower taxes and better opportunities.

That's Alberta using other provinces taxes and education systems to subsidise themselves. Perhaps the province of Alberta should quit whining about transfer payments. They are simply paying for what they take out.

So I guess that applies also to Canada's attempts at recruiting educated immigrants from abroad? So the solution for both should be to shut the border? I'm not sure what you're getting at, Rev, other than you hate Alberta. The truth is, people are free to move wherever they want for whatever reason they want - be it a booming economy or beautiful scenery. Next will you complain about Vancouver 'poaching' people from elsewhere in Canada who are drawn there by the climate or scenery??
 
Reverend Blair
#6
Quote:

So I guess that applies also to Canada's attempts at recruiting educated immigrants from abroad?

In many instances, yes.

Quote:

So the solution for both should be to shut the border?

Can you show me where I said that? No, you can't, because I never did say it.

What I am saying is that provinces who cut funding to education and have high tuition rates are not investing in their own people and then end up with shortages of skilled workers. Healthcare is a good example of that and so are the trades.

Quote:

I do notice the Winnipeg has ads in the papers here looking for skilled trades people.

We do. Our apprenticeship programs here have had trouble attracting people, largely because so many head to Alberta and BC as soon as they get a red ticket, or even after they finish their second year. That discourages employers from taking first and second year apprentices on because they get no long-term benefit out of it.

Combine that with a booming construction industry, residential and commercial, and you end up with a shortage of skilled workers.
 
Hank C Cheyenne
#7
Quote:

Among other things, there is no provincial sales tax in Alberta, a huge break when compared with the 15 per cent HST Atlantic Canadians pay on everything from their soaring power bills to candy.

"The cost of living is less here," says Christie. "Sure housing is a bit more expensive, but everything else is a lot cheaper, especially groceries and gas."

....yep....sure the Alberta housing cost is expensive ...but compared to BC or Ontario it's fair...especially when it comes to the larger cities......Vancouver and Toronto are outrageous.....I think it has alot to do with the open space here in Calgary and Edmonton....
 
Jo Canadian
#8
Expensive housing in Alberta really depends where you are. Edmonton for example is medium high, Ft. Mcmurray is ridiculous, my buddies parents sold their "trailer" for over 125,000. Athabasca has pretty cheap housing, but you're in between Ft.M and Edmntn by about 2.5 hours either way.

Those working in McDonalds in Ft.M do make about 12.50 an hour, which is close to Grande Prarie, however when you ratio it with the cost of overall living, it's the same as making 6-7 bucks/hour in the maritimes
 
Hank C Cheyenne
#9
Quote:

That's Alberta using other provinces taxes and education systems to subsidise themselves. Perhaps the province of Alberta should quit whining about transfer payments. They are simply paying for what they take out.

...and we do make those transfer payments, and on a per capita basis higher than any province. Albertan's are alright with this as long as we don't get further raped and pillaged, and the fed's keep their dirty paw's off what is rightfully provincial jurisdiction...then were are fine.

...and so what if Alberta is attracting workers from hapless regions...you want us to raise taxes and move backwards just so that the rest of Canada can feel better about themselves....especially when the lot of the socialist fools don't take from example of success in Ontario or Alberta.

...one also has to look at the systems these province's have in place that are counterproductive and that encourage dependence on Ottawa and transfer payments from Alberta and Ontario. Because of this Ontario is on a crash course with becoming a have not province in the not too distant future...so it is importiant to Canada....why take from a province that is generating wealth and give to a province with no output....especially when no movement to get off welfare status is taken.
 
TenPenny
#10
What decade did you find that article in?

Alberta was built by skilled workers from the East. It has always been thus. God, is everyone completely ignorant of our history?

Some guy who worked in a dying industry in a one industry town finally got a clue, courtesy of a bankruptcy, and moved to where he could make a living. Now there's a newsflash.
 
Reverend Blair
#11
Quote:

and we do make those transfer payments, and on a per capita basis higher than any province. Albertan's are alright with this as long as we don't get further raped and pillaged, and the fed's keep their dirty paw's off what is rightfully provincial jurisdiction...then were are fine.

You make the payments, but you bitch and whine and never acknowledge the reality of the situation.

Quote:

and so what if Alberta is attracting workers from hapless regions...you want us to raise taxes and move backwards just so that the rest of Canada can feel better about themselves....especially when the lot of the socialist fools don't take from example of success in Ontario or Alberta.

No, I want you to recognise that once upon a time the east was sending money west and that much of what you have exists because they were willing to make an investment in you. You now need to make an investment in them. In the end, everybody will prosper because of it.

Quote:

why take from a province that is generating wealth and give to a province with no output....especially when no movement to get off welfare status is taken.

Because giving to those provinces can and will make them more productive. Your rhetoric and regionalism is based in myopia and an ignorance of historic fact.
 
Hank C Cheyenne
#12
Quote:

No, I want you to recognise that once upon a time the east was sending money west and that much of what you have exists because they were willing to make an investment in you. You now need to make an investment in them. In the end, everybody will prosper because of it.

...yes once upon a time Ontario was sending money to Alberta...but if you read what I'm trying to say ..it's that these "welfare" provinces need to take from examples of success and make the move to become a have province. Now I know Alberta is special because it has the oil and none can catch up to the wealth but as was said in the article, these provinces need to look to tax cuts and update "outdated political strategies that depend on high taxes and Ottawa-centred regional development programs." ...cutting taxes and following success is the key here:

Quote:

Experts often suggest that Atlantic Canada should look to Ireland's economic revival as a model, but politicians like McGuire don't like the emphasis on the tax cuts that helped fuel the Celtic Tiger.

....they need to get rid of people like McGuire and attempt to try and generate growth....through tax cuts....obviously they won't be able to compete with the gas prices,higher salaries, and better opportunities in Alberta.....but they can try and who knows what may happen in the process.
 
Reverend Blair
#13
I swear, sometimes it's like having an intellectual gunfight with a man armed only with a banana.

Quote:

yes once upon a time Ontario was sending money to Alberta

Nobody said Ontario. What was said was "eastern provinces". As in every province to the east of you. Not only did they send you money, but they provided a market for the few goods you produced at the time and paid for the infrastructure for you to send those goods to that market.
 
Hank C Cheyenne
#14
Quote:

I swear, sometimes it's like having an intellectual gunfight with a man armed only with a banana.

....this coming from a guy who has no idea how trade works and wants to abolish NAFTA....and the same guy who believes that the workers at Lakeside should magically have the plant fall in their laps without any funds...
 
Reverend Blair
#15
Ah, the man with the fruit speaks again.
 
Jo Canadian
#16
Quote:

..it's that these "welfare" provinces.


Who or what are THESE welfare provinces??? I would reccomend that you take NO employment in diplomatic issues. I'm actually glad you don't speak for your province.
 

Similar Threads

0
God Made Me Funky play the East Coast!
by inthewind | Sep 5th, 2008
13
East Coast freelance photographer??
by Cygnus | Oct 7th, 2004