Edmonton, the vibrant city nestled in Alberta, is set to welcome over 30,000 newcomers this year, marking a continuation of the substantial net immigration trend from the previous year. A report by the Conference Board of Canada indicates that the city experienced a net immigration of more than 33,000 individuals, a remarkable three times higher than the 20-year average.
While projections hint at a slight decrease in net international migration over the next few years, Edmonton is poised to maintain figures above the 20-year average, reaching around 21,800 people in 2024 and 18,400 in 2025, according to the Conference Board’s economic forecasting director, Ted Mallett.
Mallett attributes this population movement to the intentional increase in immigration by the federal government. Additionally, Edmonton’s allure is heightened by factors such as higher wages, more affordable housing prices compared to major cities like Vancouver and Toronto, and a robust economy fueled by oil and gas, local manufacturing, and services.
However, rapid population growth brings challenges, necessitating careful synchronization of real estate development and infrastructure to avoid issues like bidding wars among newcomers. To address this, Edmonton must prioritize urban planning and infrastructure.
Transportation planning emerges as a key aspect, with calls to expedite initiatives like rapid bus transit and other public transport options to accommodate the burgeoning population.
New Immigration Policy Amid Demographic Shift
As Edmonton undergoes this demographic transformation, there’s a call for a new immigration policy. The second State of Immigration and Settlement Report emphasizes the need for an updated policy to address challenges faced by newcomers, including employment issues, discrimination, lack of affordable housing, and education-related obstacles.
The report stresses the importance of an inclusive economy, calling for inclusive education, anti-racism and anti-oppression training for educators, authentic relationships between public institutions and immigrants, and the valuation of newcomers’ experiences beyond economic terms.
Edmonton Journal reports that councilors have already taken steps, passing a motion for the policy’s revision. The report, based on interviews with approximately 180 individuals from diverse communities, underscores the urgency for systemic change, accountability, and transparency to dismantle perceived barriers to diversity and inclusion in the city.
In navigating Edmonton’s immigration surge, the city stands at a pivotal juncture, poised to welcome and integrate newcomers while fostering an inclusive environment that transcends rhetoric and embraces meaningful actions.