More immigrants are coming to Red Deer and more are settling in to make it their new home.
“Red Deer is becoming more successful in the number of newcomers that stay. We’ve improved,” said Frank Bauer, executive director of Care for Newcomers.
He said Red Deer is keeping more newcomers thanks to initiatives like the Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership, which brings a variety of stakeholders together, like the City of Red Deer, Red Deer Polytechnic, Alberta Health Services, RCMP and others to look at what is available for newcomers beyond settlement services and what is missing. Care for Newcomers is the lead behind the partnership.
There is also more effort in the overall community to welcome newcomers and being an inclusive community, he added.
“As settlement agencies we can do all we want to help newcomers, but if they don’t feel at home or there’s no trust or confidence that this is the place for them to be … if that’s missing they will find other places,” Bauer said.
According to a new report from Statistics Canada, the country’s population grew by more than a million people between July 2022 to July 2023 largely due to immigration.
Alberta saw a four per cent increase, the fastest growth of all the provinces, as a result of immigration and people relocating from other parts of Canada.
Dieulita Datus-Hall, programs manager with Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership, said cultural services and programs will help keep immigrants in Red Deer and Central Alberta.
It’s through collaboration and community that immigrants will come to feel like Red Deerians, and more can be done, she said.
To bring cultures together, a local People 2 People campaign will kick off in early October with activities for residents to connect with newcomers. The project will continue until December, along with anti-racism training, and programs to help newcomers adjust to their new way of life.
“I think that people don’t recognize the importance of immigration, or migration, and how it helps drive our communities, that it’s not taking anything away from the communities, but in reality they are adding to it,” Datus-Hall said.
Bauer said he was not surprised by the increase in Canada’s immigrant population. Red Deer has seen an increase in permanent and temporary immigrants. About 1,300 Ukrainians have arrived, and with more applicants approved, there could easily be another 500 or 600 arrive in the next six or seven months.
Scott Robinson, Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce, said while people are coming to Canada for different reasons, immigration is one of the solutions to addressing the worker shortage now and in the future.
“We know going forward with our demographic reality that we’re going to have more jobs in the future because of the number of retirees,” Robinson said.
He said Canada is currently struggling to build the houses that are really needed making construction one of the industries suffering from a lack of workers.
“The hospitality industry is probably the most in need and sometimes immigration can support those businesses quite well because it’s a good entry point into the labour pool here in Canada.”
For more information about Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership visit rdlip.ca.