Jurisdictions all across Canada are in competition to attract talent, David Campbell told more than 100 western P.E.I. stakeholders who gathered recently to develop recruitment and retention strategies.
In his keynote address at Mill River Resort, Campbell, president of Jupia Consultants, provided stakeholders attending West Prince Community Partnership Committee’s “Here to Stay” community engagement day with lots of statistics proving the claim.
The focus of the community engagement day was the recruitment and retention of medical professionals.
“It is important to note, really everyone has a bit of a role here, going forward – from those working front lines in health care and administration to various representatives of the communities in West Prince,” said Community Hospitals West administrator Paul Young in summarizing the sentiments of those in attendance.
“It takes a community to really develop that level of belonging; it can’t be led by one group,” Young emphasized. “It really needs to be engrained amongst everyone, so that takes a pretty diverse committee in leading and guiding that work.”
He said many attendees expressed interest in helping to move objectives forward.
“Our challenge,” Campbell said, “is to find a way to quickly get (newcomers) to feel that kind of community engagement.”
That, he suggested, means the new immigrants, in a short period of time, have a friend network, a job they like and a comfort level with school and other services.
Campbell noted there are millions of people around the world who would like to live in Canada and, for some, P.E.I. might be their way in. That doesn’t mean they will stay, unless they acquire a certain comfort level. He counselled stakeholders that sometimes retention is not possible as even Canadians and Islanders move.
Dr. Adnan Bajelan was one of several medical professionals who attended the event. He moved his medical practice to West Prince in 2005, after immigrating to Newfoundland six years previous. He thinks this is where he will finish out his medical career.
He agreed newcomers need to feel comfortable in the skills they deliver.
“That, to me, is a very important part for anyone to settle and remain in a place.”
He said West Prince gave him that good first impression.
Gurbir Martin, a nurse practitioner who moved to Tyne Valley from Toronto in November, told the gathering she and her husband were looking for the rural lifestyle and shared how, after settling in Wellington, the community held a reception for newcomers. Housing prices here also factored in their decision.
Campbell suggested rural areas might have to work harder at recruiting to out-hustle larger communities, but he added they do have the ability to be more personable than larger places.
Having ethno-cultural associations and engaging volunteers to provide quality local settlement services are beneficial recruitment and retention tools, Campbell said.
“If you have good settlement and support services, you have a better chance of long-term integration of the immigrants.”
Young observed a high level of engagement as session leaders went through knowledge and educational components on retention. He said community facilitators will condense the information shared into a draft action plan to be presented to the Community Partnership Group for further discussion.
"Here to stay" facts:
- 26 per cent of P.E.I.’s workforce is over the age of 55
- 42 per cent of the Island’s entrepreneurs are at least 55.
- 20 years ago, there were eight people over the age of 60 for every 10 under 20 - Now there are 17 people over the age of 60
- In 10 years there will be 26 people over 60 for every 10 under 20
- P.E.I. only Atlantic province where in the last six years there were more immigrants joining the workforce than there were people leaving the workforce