Transcript: Ontario Hubs: Immigration in the North | Oct 11, 2019

Jeyan sits in the studio. He's is in his thirties, with short black hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and floral print tie.

A caption on screen reads "Ontario Hubs: Immigration in the North. Jeyan Jeganathan. @JeyanTVO. @theagenda."

Jeyan says NORTHERN ONTARIO HAS A
LOT TO OFFER, AND A NEW FEDERAL
INITIATIVE IS UNDERWAY TO HELP
THE REGION ATTRACT IMMIGRANTS.
JON THOMPSON IS OUR ONTARIO HUB
EDITOR COVERING THE NORTHWESTERN
PART OF THIS PROVINCE, AND HE
JOINS US NOW FROM OUR STUDIO AT
CONFEDERATION COLLEGE IN THUNDER
BAY.

Jon is in his thirties, with blond hair and a boxed beard. He's wearing glasses, a gray plaid suit, blue shirt and patterned blue tie.

Jeyan continues WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

Jon says HEY, JEYAN.
THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Jeyan says JON, YOU HAVE A
PIECE ON tvo.org THAT LOOKS AT
IMMIGRATION IN NORTHWESTERN
ONTARIO.
TELL US ABOUT THE NEED THERE.

The caption changes to "Jon Thompson. Northwestern Ontario Hub Editor."
Then, it changes again to "Reorganizing a need."

A screenshot from the TVO website pops up showing an article. It reads "tvo.org/current-affairs. Ontario Hubs. A place to move: Why northern cities are struggling to attract immigrants. By Jon Thompson."

Jon says WE WERE SURPRISED IN 2015 IN
THUNDER BAY TO HAVE THE NORTH
SUPERIOR WORK FORCE PLANNING
BOARD RELEASE A REPORT THAT SAID
THAT THUNDER BAY DISTRICT, THE
POPULATION OF 150,000, IS GOING
TO REQUIRE 50,000 IN-MIGRANTS BY
2041, THAT WILL BE 25 YEARS.
SO THAT'S A THIRD OF THE
POPULATION.
IN MUCH OF NORTHERN ONTARIO,
IT'S THE SAME.
IN THE LARGER CENTRES, IT'S
PARTICULARLY ACUTE.
THUNDER BAY IS EXTREME, BUT IN
ALL OF THE MAJOR CENTRES AND
MOST OF THE SMALL TOWNS IN
NORTHERN ONTARIO, WE'RE LOOKING
AT... WE'RE LOOKING AT SHARPLY
DECLINING POPULATIONS OVER THE
NEXT COUPLE OF DECADES.

Jeyan says I'M CURIOUS ABOUT
THAT PACE.
YOU SAID 50,000 OVER 25 YEARS.
WHAT'S THE PACE RIGHT NOW?

The caption changes to "Jon Thompson, @JonSThompson."

Jon says WE'RE ONLY LOOKING AT MAYBE
BETWEEN 50 AND 100 A YEAR RIGHT
NOW, AND THAT'S IN TERMS OF
IMMIGRANTS, NOT IN-MIGRANTS.
THERE'S NOT AS CLEAN OF A WAY OF
RECOGNIZING JUST PEOPLE WHO ARE
MOVING IN AND OUT OF HERE.
BUT THE NUMBERS ARE NOT LOOKING
GOOD.
IT'S AT LEAST 20 TIMES MORE THAN
WE'RE CURRENTLY DOING A YEAR IN
THUNDER BAY PROPER.

Jeyan says SO THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT, OF COURSE, IS TRYING
TO FIX THAT.
THEY LAUNCHED EARLIER THIS YEAR
A PILOT PROJECT.
TELL US HOW THAT'S WORKING.

The caption changes to "Welcoming newcomers."

Jon says THE RURAL AND NORTHERN
IMMIGRATION PILOT IS BASED ON
THE ATLANTIC PILOT, WHICH WE'RE
TOLD IS JUST ABOUT DOUBLE THE
IMMIGRATION NUMBERS IN NOVA
SCOTIA AND PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND,
AND INCREASED THE RETENTION RATE
BY ABOUT 30 PERCENT.
SO THAT PROJECT IS FOR 11
COMMUNITIES ACROSS CANADA, FIVE
OF WHICH ARE IN NORTHERN
ONTARIO.
SO THAT'S THUNDER BAY, SAULT
STE. MARIE, SUDBURY, TIMMINS,
AND NORTH BAY... WHAT WE CALL
THE BIG FIVE IN THE NORTH...
WILL ALL BE TARGETED FOR
IMMIGRATION OVER THE COURSE OF
THIS PILOT.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Jeyan says SO OF COURSE WE'RE
IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ELECTION.
THIS PILOT PROJECT WAS LAUNCHED
JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO.
WILL THE OUTCOME OF THE ELECTION
AFFECT THE PILOT PROJECT?

Jon says I THINK IT'S MORE LIKELY TO
SAY THE OUTCOME WILL GROW ON THE
PROJECT.
THE MUNICIPAL LEAGUES OF
NORTHWESTERN AND NORTHEASTERN
ONTARIO HAD HOPED THAT THE FEDS
WOULD LOOK AT A REGIONAL
DEVELOPMENT ASPECT TO THIS.
THEY HAVE CHOSEN INSTEAD, THESE
FIVE LARGER CENTRES.
WHEN YOU SPEAK TO JAGMEET SINGH
OF THE NDP, HE SAYS THAT SHOULD
THE NDP BE ELECTED, THE PROJECT
WILL BECOME PERMANENT.
ELIZABETH MAY AND THE GREEN
PARTY FEEL STRONGLY IN SUPPORT
OF WHAT SHE CALLS HUBS AND FEELS
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS A
ROLE IN NURTURING THOSE
COMMUNITIES AND THE SUPPORTS
THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO THEM.
AND THE LIBERALS WILL ALLOW THIS
TO WORK OUT THE WAY IT WILL.
I THINK WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO
REMEMBER IS THAT THE... IS THAT
THIS WILL ONLY BE ONE STREAM,
AND SO IT'S NOT AS IF THIS CAN
HANDLE THE ACTUAL ENTIRE
IMMIGRATION NEEDS OF THE REGION.

Jeyan says NOW, IT'S ONE STORY
TO HAVE IMMIGRANTS COMING TO
THAT REGION, BUT THERE'S ANOTHER
STORY OF HAVING THEM STAY THERE,
BUILD A FAMILY, AND ET CETERA.
HOW CAN NEWCOMERS BE ENCOURAGED
TO STAY?
I KNOW THIS IS A QUESTION MANY
MUNICIPALITIES WANT TO KNOW.
HOW CAN NEWCOMERS BE ENCOURAGED
TO STAY IN THE REGION?

The caption changes to "Creating communities."

Jon says WELL, I THINK THE WAY THEY'RE
DOING THAT IS BASED ON THOSE
COMMUNITIES OF SUPPORT, AND THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES
BEING STRONGER IN THOSE LARGER
COMMUNITIES.
WHEN I SPEAK TO MAYORS AND
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICERS IN
SMALLER COMMUNITIES ACROSS
NORTHERN ONTARIO, THEY ALL KIND
OF SAY THE SAME THING, AND
THAT'S THAT THEY DO HAVE THE
PROBLEM WITH CULTURAL
COAGULATION.
BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THE
IMMIGRATION MAKEUP OF NORTHERN
ONTARIO, PARTICULARLY THUNDER
BAY AND SUDBURY, WE'RE ALREADY
STARTING TO SEE A CHANGE, A
SHIFT.
TRADITIONALLY YOU WOULD HAVE
FOUND ITALIANS, FINNISH PEOPLE,
POLISH, UKRAINIAN, GERMAN, AND
YOU'RE SEEING A LOT MORE PEOPLE
FROM CHINA, FROM INDIA, FROM
VIETNAM, AND FROM NEPAL.
AND THAT IS ALREADY BEGINNING TO
CHANGE THE CULTURAL MAKEUP OF
THE MAJOR CENTRES IN NORTHERN
ONTARIO.
AS THOSE OTHER OLDER IMMIGRATION
POPULATIONS BEGIN TO AGE OUT OF
THE WORKPLACE.
AND THE OTHER HALF OF THAT WILL
BE ENCOURAGING YOUNG PEOPLE TO
MOVE HOME, AND YOU'RE SEEING
THAT IN SAULT STE. MARIE, IN
PARTICULAR THEY'RE DOING A GOOD
JOB WITH RETAINING THEIR YOUNG
PEOPLE FROM LEAVING.
THUNDER BAY IS DOING A GOOD JOB
AT HAVING LOCAL PEOPLE COMING
HOME MORE AND MORE OFTEN.
AND SO ALL OF THIS WILL BE SORT
OF A TAP INDUSTRY, AS THEY
ATTEMPT TO REACH THESE NUMBERS
TO REPLACE THE AGING POPULATIONS
AND RETAIN THE SIZE OF THE
EXISTING ECONOMIES.
REMEMBER, IF WE DON'T DO THIS,
WE'RE GOING TO SEE ECONOMIC
CONTRACTION, AND THAT'S
SOMETHING THAT... THAT'S THE
REASON THIS IS ON THE FRONT
BURNER FOR NORTHERN ONTARIO.

The caption changes to "Producer: Carla Lucchetta, @carrletta."

Jeyan says AND SOMETHING WE
WILL KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON.
JON THOMPSON, ALWAYS A PLEASURE
FOR YOU COMING ON THE SHOW.
THANK YOU FOR BRINGING IN MAJOR
ISSUES AND TOPICS DURING THE
ELECTION.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Jon says THANKS YOU SO MUCH, JEYAN.
PLEASURE AS ALWAYS.

An animated slate reads "Ontario Hubs. Ontario Hubs are made possible by The Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust and Goldie Feldman."

Watch: Ontario Hubs: Immigration in the North