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Recruitment of workers from other countries helped drive Sask. population to new high

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Saskatchewan’s population continues to grow at a record pace. Statistics Canada reports that it increased by just over 30,000 residents last year, the highest single year increase since 1914.

Recruitment of workers from other countries have helped drive Saskatchewan’s population to a new high of 1,225,493 which is up by 30,624 in 2023. The vast majority were newcomers to Canada.

“Which is very exciting and really is a reflection of the fact that we have a growing economy, that we have an incredibly attractive standard of living here,” said Jeremy Harrison, minister of immigration and career training.

Retaining newcomers once here in Saskatchewan is a challenge. Only 57.9 per cent stay beyond five years, which is a turnover that concerns the NDP opposition.

“Does the Sask. Party government think it is acceptable that more than 40 per cent of newcomers pick up and leave this province within the next five years?” asked NDP MLA Noor Burki on Wednesday.

The provincial government feels Saskatchewan is an attractive place for new residents.

“Thirty thousand new Canadians have made their home here in Saskatchewan, Mr. Speaker, something that we are incredibly proud of, something that everybody in this province should be proud of, not criticizing like the members opposite,” Harrison said.

Degelman Industries is a Saskatchewan farm implement manufacturers that relies heavily on immigrants to meet workforce needs.

“It’s really changed our business. We were struggling to get employees 15 years ago, went on a few trade missions with the government and in total over the last 15 years, we brought in 130 employees along with their families,” said Blair Flavel, president of Degelman Industries.

Michael Salvador is a Degelman employee that moved to Saskatchewan from Philippines in 2000. He intends to stay.

“I’m happy to be at Degelman. They treat people as a family so I stayed,” he said.

The government has taken steps to make Saskatchewan an attractive place for the immigrant workforce. Legislation was introduced in 2012 to protect foreign workers from exploitation. Measures will be introduced later this week to further strengthen that legislation. 

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