DON MILLS: Unprecedented Atlantic Canada population growth causes unexpected pressures & More Trending News


As somebody who has actively promoted population growth as a way of bettering financial prosperity in Atlantic Canada, there at the moment are indicators that the tempo of growth could also be changing into a problem, particularly for the three Maritime provinces which have skilled unprecedented growth up to now 12 months, (between July 21 and July 22) in response to Statistics Canada. The rising proof that the tempo might changing into an issue is most demonstrated by quickly growing wait lists for main care and the more and more severe housing provide points, particularly for inexpensive housing.

Current tempo of growth

The three Maritime provinces noticed their populations develop by almost twice the nationwide price (1.8 per cent), led once more by Prince Edward Island with a growth price of three.6 per cent 12 months over 12 months. In New Brunswick, the population grew by 2.9 per cent, whereas in Nova Scotia the population grew by 2.7 per cent. Despite this price of growth, extra individuals died than had been born within the area final 12 months, besides in P.E.I. There can also be some excellent news for Newfoundland and Labrador, the place the population grew by 1.1 per cent after declining within the earlier census interval.

Until solely just lately, the population in Canada had grown at a price of about one per cent a 12 months for the final six a long time. This price of growth has been demonstrably manageable and prompted little disruption to the labour market or the housing market. The regular tempo of growth (principally outdoors Atlantic Canada) turned predictable permitting lodging within the supply of well being care and training. The federal authorities’s determination to dramatically enhance immigration from round 250,000 solely a few years in the past to greater than 400,000 this previous 12 months has modified that dynamic and led to vital disruption.

This week’s announcement by the Government of Canada to extend immigration to 500,000 by 2025 will solely additional exacerbate the pressures. On the employment facet, the rise in population has been largely beneficial based mostly on the low present unemployment charges throughout the nation and is clearly filling the hole from the massive numbers of child boomers retiring from the office. The impression of those growing numbers is way much less beneficial on the housing and health-care sectors, nonetheless.

Source of growth

While clearly immigration continues to have a powerful impression on population growth numbers throughout the area, what’s extra shocking is the online in migration of different Canadians pouring into Atlantic Canada. This enhance in individuals coming from different provinces has reversed a long time of out-migration from the area. The mixture of constant sturdy immigration numbers with equally sturdy in migration numbers has led to the best 12 months over 12 months population growth within the three Maritime provinces for the reason that Nineteen Seventies. The query is whether or not the present tempo of population growth is sustainable. Even in Nova Scotia, the place Premier Houston has set a goal of a population of two million by 2060, the present growth price (2.7 per cent) is properly above the speed wanted to attain that aggressive purpose (1.8 per cent).

Impact on job market

What is so fascinating about these population growth numbers is that it has led to larger ranges of employment and reducing ranges of unemployment on the identical time. Indeed, unemployment numbers within the area have been at or close to historic lows, whereas the variety of these working are up throughout Atlantic Canada. Unemployment charges throughout Atlantic Canada in September are usually properly under these in February 2020 simply previous to the pandemic (P.E.I. 8.3 per cent vs 8.2 per cent, N.S. 6.2 per cent vs 8.2 per cent, N.B. 6.7 per cent vs 7.6 per cent, N.L. 9.5 per cent vs 12.5 per cent), whereas there at the moment are almost 30,000 extra jobs throughout the area over the identical time interval. In addition, the variety of job vacancies throughout many of the area stay traditionally excessive regardless of the massive inflow of principally working-aged individuals to the area. This enhance in employment is nice for presidency tax revenues and for retail and industrial companies.


There are a few more and more damaging impacts of fast population growth. One is said to the supply of well being care generally and first care specifically. The quickly rising wait lists for a physician underscores the challenges of fast population growth. There was already a physician scarcity previous to the current enhance in population, largely as a result of a quickly growing old workforce. It isn’t a surprise that the wait lists proceed to extend. Every new individual shifting to the area wants a physician, or not less than entry to main care. In addition, each individual shifting right here wants a spot to stay.

Based on the common family dimension in Canada (2.2 individuals per family), the rise in population throughout Atlantic Canada within the final 12 months alone created the demand for a further 28,000 housing models. The legislation of provide and demand signifies that a scarcity of housing provide as a result of larger demand results in larger costs and will increase pressures on entry to inexpensive housing, particularly for many who lease.

Another growing strain level is training. For many a long time, the general public training system has been managing a decline in pupil enrolment. We at the moment are experiencing, particularly within the highest growth communities, the early indicators of the necessity for extra funding in class capability to take care of growing enrolment numbers. It is fascinating to notice, that the quickest rising phase of the population has been these within the childbearing years for many of the area, that’s, these 25-44 years outdated. Indeed, within the final 5 years, the variety of these shifting to the area has elevated by almost 70,000 throughout the area, with greater than half in Nova Scotia alone. Furthermore, immigrant households are extra seemingly than their native counterparts to have bigger households.


As difficult as the present scenario is when it comes to accommodating a rise in population, it’s a lot better than coping with an growing old and stagnant population. Atlantic Canada is now confronted with the brand new actuality of coping with a better degree of financial exercise within the area, one that may require new methods on how finest to answer new calls for on our social and well being infrastructure. I want to imagine that we’re in transition to a brand new and brighter financial future, however the transition interval will probably be troublesome.

In the meantime, I’ll proceed to advocate for growth underneath management. Certainly, the sorts of charges of population growth at present being skilled, particularly in centres like Halifax, Moncton and Charlottetown are seemingly unsustainable in the long term. Historically, Canada has been capable of maintain a population growth price of about one per cent per 12 months with out placing undue pressure on the economic system. A population growth price of between one and 1.5 per cent, for my part, needs to be the longer-term goal for growth underneath management in Atlantic Canada.

It has been a very long time since Atlantic Canadians needed to fear about rising their populations too quickly. But it’s taking place, and we might want to adapt our methods to handle these larger growth charges to make sure that everybody advantages from that growth.

DON MILLS: Unprecedented Atlantic Canada population growth causes unexpected pressures

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DON MILLS: Unprecedented Atlantic Canada population growth causes unexpected pressures

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DON MILLS: Unprecedented Atlantic Canada population growth causes unexpected pressures

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