P.E.I. wants to increase its population by 1.5 per cent annually – about 2,100 people – in part by encouraging immigration and by attracting former Islanders back home.
Premier Pat Binns said his government will announce a plan this summer aimed at boosting the population, pegged at about 138,000 when Statistics Canada did its latest estimate in April.
Binns said he's worried by a projected decline in Prince Edward Island's population. Falling birth rates mean there will be fewer working-age people in the future.
"The population decline that could potentially happen would have a devastating impact on the province and we must change the course that we are on," Binns said.
"We have to be aggressive about increasing our objectives and bringing more people to the province."
The new population strategy will include plans to try to persuade former Islanders to return home for good and to discourage people living on the Island from leaving.
However, a large part of the plan will focus on bringing more immigrants from foreign countries to the Island.
Island Studies researcher Godfrey Baldacchino is reported as conducting research into the question of what attracts migrants to Prince Edward Island. This question is vital since, as Kevin Bissett writes for the Canadian Press, federal grants are at stake.
The federal government issued a warning Monday about Atlantic Canada's dwindling population as it announced the renewal of a $700-million fund aimed at promoting economic development in the region.
Joe McGuire, the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, said the second phase of the Atlantic Investment Partnership will include new money for attracting and retaining skilled workers over the next five years.
"We will not have in 10 years enough people to fill the jobs we have now, let alone develop the economy," McGuire told a crowd at an industrial park in Summerside, which is part of his federal riding.
"There literally has to be tens of thousands of people."
I was going to say that unemployment and underemployment remain high, but then I remembered the shortages of skilled workers on the Island. We neglected education, don't you know?
It will be interesting to watch this plan fail.