About the project

Atlantic Canada faces demographic and labour market challenges and is looking to immigration as one of several solutions. Provinces are collaborating on the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, and the provinces are setting ambitious immigration targets for Provincial Nominee pathways – all part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy, which sets immigration as one of five pillars for regional economic growth. Nonetheless, the decision to come to Atlantic Canada doesn’t mean newcomers will stay.  The percentage of immigrants choosing to stay in Atlantic Canada is improving but retention remains a challenge. Why is this? What are the roles of employers, communities, settlement agencies and government in enhancing retention? How can regional and local considerations inform policy development?

If the Atlantic provinces are able to boost long-term immigrant retention than the challenges of an aging population can be mitigated and the economy will get a boost from a deeper pool of labours. To help this vision, PPF is working in partnership with government, business associations, researchers and immigrant-serving agencies in Atlantic Canada to answer these questions:

1) What factors influence immigrant retention in Atlantic Canada, including for Francophone newcomers, international students and refugees?

2) How does the changing nature of work in Atlantic Canada interact with immigration priorities?

3) What are employers experiencing in terms of recruiting and retaining skilled immigrants? Which sectors and what types of jobs would most benefit from immigration support?

4) What regional issues attract or create barriers to entrepreneurial immigrants? How can immigration be a part of attracting entrepreneurs who are proven job creators?

5) What is the role of communities in attracting and retaining immigrants? In particular, how can rural parts of Atlantic Canada have a greater chance of attracting and retaining newcomers?


Research reports and feature stories; provincial roundtables; regional summits; newsletter.


The project spans three years (2017-2020). The first year covered retention in general. Year two is addressing the above 5 questions. The focus of the third year will be determined with input from project partners and a Strategic Advisory Committee.


Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; Innovation, Science and Economic Development and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency; The Council of Atlantic Premieres; National Public Affairs.


Charlie Carter, policy lead

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