Saint John is one of close to 30 large urban centres in Canada, and while its immigrant community is much smaller than that found in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver, it is the largest immigrant community in New Brunswick
Roughly 1 in 20 Saint John residents were born outside of Canada
This study sought to better understand what has attracted immigrants to Saint John, and what challenges they have faced as they seek to succeed in their new community
As part of the study, UNBSJ partnered with Enterprise Saint John to explore the immigrant experience under NB’s provincial nominee program
In future years, we hope to examine other aspects of the immigrant experience
Some historical perspective on immigration to Saint John
The last mass migration into Saint John occurred in 1957, as a boat filled with Hungarian refugees arrived in the harbour. Few stayed in the community - although a reunion of sorts was held in 2007
The Present-Day Immigrant Experience in Saint John: What s does the study seek to answer?
The survey is broken down into specific themes: Life at Home and School, Your Saint John Experience, Jobs and Labour Market, Demographic Information, and Your Ideas
The Demographic information has been asked to see if certain immigrant communities have found some aspect of the immigrant experience easier than other immigrant communities
The survey ends by asking new immigrants a straightforward question: if you were in charge of New Brunswick, what 3 ideas would you develop to ensure that new immigrants can stay in the province and prosper?
Currently, roughly 30% of NB immigrants settle in Saint John. Unfortunately, NB forms less than 1% of Canada’s immigration totals 2009 2010 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total Q1 Moncton 93 106 166 114 479 117 Saint John 109 193 206 77 585 115 Fredericton 116 176 136 65 493 105 Other New Brunswick 59 113 94 90 356 85 New Brunswick 377 588 602 346 1,913 422
Roughly 30% of new immigrants to the city have been exposed to some form of racism
When asked, “there are lots of employment opportunities for residents new to Saint John”, most respondents disagreed (3.9 out of a 1-5 scale)
When asked, “Saint John is a welcoming place for New Canadians”, most residents agreed (2.63 out of a1-5 scale)
When asked, “would you recommend Saint John to other immigrants as a good place to live?”, 57% said yes, while 9 % would recommend another NB city (Moncton, Fredericton), and 22% would recommend a large Canadian city (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver)
Do you ever get a second chance to make a first impression?
When asked, “what was your first impression,” 55% liked Saint John, while 45% of survey respondents did not like Saint John
Among the city’s strengths were: friendly people, lots of nature and fresh air
Among its weaknesses: small population, fog, and air pollution
The vast majority (85%) of respondents grew more positive about the city as they stayed in the community
53% of respondents unsure if they will be in Saint John in a couple of years, while 28% plan on staying in the community
The Good and Bad about Saint John (actual responses)
When asked what were the key hurdles facing newcomers, “employment’ and “economic/financial issues” have emerged as the most significant responses to date
73% of respondents suggested that job placement services would be useful for new immigrants, while 59% called for more/better language training
The vast majority of respondents disagreed with the statements ‘there are meaningful employment opportunities for newcomers’ (3.9 out of a 1-5 scale), ‘there are opportunities for starting a new business in the community’ (3.5 out of a 1-5 scale), and ‘local employers are interested in hiring immigrants’ (3.6 out of a 1-5 scale)
The economic barriers facing SJ immigrants are arguably the biggest reason why community is unsure of its future
The role of the PNP: Is it a positive experience?
Close to ½ of survey respondents have participated in the provincial nominee program, in which the province facilitates immigration for new Canadians who have found employment or are ready to go into business
Most respondents felt it took too long to process, and wasn’t like it was described
Those who attempted to enter into business almost universally felt it was less successful than they hoped, because of limited language skills and lack of knowledge of Canadian business customs
Even with these challenges, roughly 80% of PNP participants would recommend the program as a good way to migrate to Canada
If Saint John immigrants were in charge of the NB government, what would they do to bring more immigrants into the Province?
The vast majority of respondents called for the creation of more/better job opportunities, as well as job placements and credential recognition
Stronger language programs were desired
More opportunities to socialize between cultures were called for
What the community has done since the survey was taken
A newcomers’ resource centre has been established and is well-staffed, offering a myriad of services
Enterprise Saint John has placed as much focus on retaining immigrants as it does attracting them
Neighbourhoods near the Uptown, Millidgeville and Quispamsis have been pro-active in welcoming diversity
The Labour Market is more responsive, but much more needs to be done