People who come to Saskatchewan from abroad drive more trade with their home countries and help to diversify the province’s economic growth, according to a Conference Board of Canada report.
“Regardless of relative wealth, presence of a trade office, distance, or language spoken, Saskatchewan is more likely to import goods from and export goods to countries that have an increased immigrant presence in the province,” said Michelle Parkouda, senior research associate. “The unique finding of this research is that increases in imports and exports are country-specific and linked to the source of immigrants.”
Based on this analysis, a one per cent increase in the number of immigrants living in Saskatchewan is associated with increases of approximately $30 million in imported goods and $41 million in exported goods, found the Influence of Immigrants on Trade Diversification in Saskatchewan.
“This research demonstrates that increasing ethnic diversity through immigration can promote trade diversification. As Saskatchewan continues to welcome increasing numbers of immigrants from around the world, this will have the potential to stimulate additional opportunities for trade outside of North America,” said Parkouda.
In 2006, a total of 48,160 immigrants resided in Saskatchewan, representing about five per cent of the province’s population. However, immigration levels have soared in recent years. In 2011 alone, 8,995 newcomers immigrated to Saskatchewan. Yet the province is still experiencing labour shortages. All available sources of talent, including the growing Aboriginal population, need to be part of Saskatchewan’s growth, said the report.
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