Immigration big factor behind population high

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MANITOBA continues its population growth spurt as new statistics reveal more people are calling the province home than ever before.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/12/2011 (3995 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MANITOBA continues its population growth spurt as new statistics reveal more people are calling the province home than ever before.

This province has a population of 1,254,700, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

“I think growth is a great problem to have,” said Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson. “We’ve had a very good run in the last few years and lots of opportunity — it’s our turn.”

From October 2010 to October 2011, the province experienced a near-record gain of 15,700 people, putting it above the national average for the third year in a row. It’s the second-highest level since such record-keeping began in 1971.

Bjornson said many factors have contributed to the population growth.

“It’s investments in better health care and facilities but also in some really dynamic infrastructure such as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the incredible success of the MTS Centre, the new Bombers stadium. There are a lot of great assets in this community,” he said.

Nearly 10,000 more people have come to Manitoba since October 2010 than left for other provinces or countries, just down from 10,238 the previous year. Over the past three years, Manitoba’s population has increased by nearly 47,000 people. The net inflow of 30,000 people includes the record arrival of 15,770 immigrants.

“People want to come to Manitoba,” said Linda Lalande, executive director of the Immigrant Centre. “We need immigration and immigrants want to be here.”

Both Lalande and Bjornson credit the provincial nominee program, which allows the province to nominate immigrants whose skills match provincial needs, as one of the reasons for the increase in the number of newcomers. The program accounts for three-quarters of all new immigrants coming to Manitoba.

“(The Immigrant Centre) is the largest settlement agency in Manitoba and a leader in the provincial nominee program. We do all sorts of things here like help find employment, education, citizenship classes,” she said. “The centre is a one-stop shop and a great example of organizations working together,” she said.

Lalande has noticed a significant increase in the number of immigrants coming into the centre over the past few years. She said she sees people coming to Manitoba from all over the world, but has noticed an increase in people arriving from the Philippines in the past year.

“It changes all the time,” she said. “We have some people who’ve been here less than a year and they own their own houses, their children are on the honour roll, they’re buying their own cars,” she said.

“There’s a lot to be learned and a lot of connections that can be made. It’s not just families coming looking for jobs and a better life. We also have people coming to Manitoba through the business nominee program. Manitoba is a good place to invest,” Bjornson said.

alana.odegard@freepress.mb.ca

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