Edmonton needs more immigrants says mayor

By Arnim Joop, editor/publisher of The Albertaner, a monthly newspaper for German-speaking people in Alberta
Mayor Stephen Mandel
Mayor Stephen Mandel
Photo by Uwe Weltz
(Canscene) — Edmonton’s mayor is reaching out to the many ethnic groups in the provincial capital to help the city to attract more immigrants to the region.

“Edmonton has one of the fastest growing economies in Canada and employment opportunities are also growing at a very fast pace,” said Stephen Mandel at a multicultural luncheon on May 30 which was attended by more than 200 leaders from the city’s ethnic communities.

“At the same time, our red-hot economy is not attracting and retaining immigrants at a desired pace, and this has the potential to impact our growth over the long-term.”

The City of Edmonton is working to position itself as a leader among municipalities in the attraction and retention of immigrants, said Mandel. In the past, Calgary was able to attract more immigrants than Edmonton.

Needed: a new policy
City councillors Michael Phair and Terry Cavanagh have been assigned to develop a new policy direction for the city. They have met with the different ethnic groups in the last few months to get their input and prepared three reports with 29 recommendations for city council.

The city will launch a number of initiatives to attract more immigrants to Edmonton and make an effort to keep newcomers in the city, said Phair.

The city is planning to translate some of its publications for citizens into other languages, wants to publish a comprehensive guide for newcomers which
will include information about schools, employment opportunities, housing and recreational facilities.

The city will launch a public awareness campaign with the message that every Edmontonian can be a welcoming citizen for newcomers.

One of the more interesting initiatives is an internship program which will give newcomers with no Canadian work experience the opportunity to work with city staff in various departments.

The city also wants to work with employers and encourage them to participate.

Mandel invited all ethnic groups to support the city’s new immigration initiatives. He encouraged the multicultural community to promote Edmonton as a welcoming city in their native countries.

“We need to work together collectively,” said the mayor.

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