Webinar: Making the Case for Our Immigrant Future: Regional Perspectives

September 18, 2019

Until a decade ago, labour market growth in Canada’s smaller cities, towns and regions depended on turnover and growth in the local population. Today, many of those communities are experiencing structural decline and need a substantial boost in population growth to ensure both that local businesses and industries have the workers they need, and local governments have the tax base required to sustain community resilience and well-being. Municipal and community leaders in Canada’s regions are learning that the retention of local youth alone is not enough to reverse the impact of an ageing population and shrinking workforce. Labour market growth and regional prosperity depend on immigration outside the big cities. So, what will it take to successfully attract and retain newcomers to our regions?

To address this challenge, in 2018 the New Brunswick Multicultural Council (NBMC) tapped leading economists to conduct New Conversations in 15 communities across the province and raise awareness of the demographic and labour market realities with employers, municipalities, community agencies, and the general public; to engage employers in the possibility of exploring immigration to address immediate and future labour shortages; and to engage communities in discussions and stimulate their future actions to provide welcoming communities for immigrants.

Alex LeBlanc, NBMC, shares community insights on the challenges and opportunities of building a welcoming economy in a regional and small town context. Followed by an online conversation with guest moderator Jasmine Gill, Century Initiative, on why Canada’s immigrant future is about all of us.

The Immigrant Futures project explores new perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of immigration in Canada’s small cities, towns and regions. The Immigrant Futures webinar series is presented in partnership with Hire Immigrants-Magnet, Hamilton Economic Development, the City of Moncton, The Halifax Partnership and the Leeds Grenville Local Immigration Partnership; with support from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Webinar Video

Webinar Resources


Alex LeBlanc, Executive Director, New Brunswick Multicultural Council (Fredericton)

Alex LeBlanc is Executive Director of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council. Alex currently co-leads a Social Innovation Lab, with NouLab, the Government of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Business Council, which is working to develop and test innovative ways that New Brunswick can become a leader in attracting, integrating and retaining newcomers to participate in the economy. Alex is co-chair of the provincial Long-Term Integration Committee, which is tasked with reviewing government programs, policies and initiatives with a newcomers lens. He also sits on several provincial and national committees and advisory groups on the topics of Atlantic immigration, social innovation, and public safety among others. Alex has a keen interest in social innovation, public engagement, public policy, and change management. Alex is also an alumni and member of the Atlantic 21 Inc. leadership network.


Jasmine Gill, Director, Policy and Programs, The Century Initiative (Toronto)

Jasmine Gill joined the Century Initiative as Director (Policy and Programs) in November 2017. Jasmine practiced intellectual property law in the publishing and media industries for several years after graduating from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law and Rotman School of Management. More recently, she has been the Executive Director of World Literacy Canada, in which capacity she has led an internationally-focused NGO devoted to promoting human development and to advancing opportunities for women and children through education. Jasmine has Juris Doctor and M.B.A degrees from the University of Toronto. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Bar of California.

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