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Human Resource Deficit in Atlantic Canada: A Challenge for Regional Economic Development


Fertility decline and population out-migration have resulted in a decline of labor force in Atlantic Canada which is projected to slow down economic growth in the region. The region offers competitive advantage in many economic development-related projects such as hydroelectricity development and ship-building, in addition to fisheries and agriculture. Hence, strategies to develop labor force through training, increased utilization of existing labor force, attraction of out-migrants back into the region, and increased immigration are essential for regional economic growth and development. This article is based on the proceedings of 2012 conference of Atlantic Canada Economics Association held in Halifax with the aim of promoting public discussions around regional labor market issues and also on the author’s own research and literature review.

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  1. Chaundy (2012) was based on some parts of APEC’s report.

  2. Based on special tabulations obtained from Labour Survey of 2010 provided by Statistics Canada.

  3. This suggestion of economic theory is derived from the personal prejudice models based on Becker (1971).

  4. In economics, there is a vast literature on economic growth. Some prominent contributors to this literature include Solow (1957) and Jorgenson and Griliches (1967).

  5. One such incentive introduced by the Nova Scotia government in 2009 is the graduate retention rebate which provides monetary incentives to university graduates to live in Nova Scotia. Details available on

  6. In fact, CAP is an outgrowth of the Council of Maritime Premiers, which was established in 1970. CAP is the same as CMP, only with Newfoundland and Labrador included.

  7. Pay equity legislations in these provinces have been introduced at different times over the past 8 years.

  8. For a general review of the employers’ benefits of ethnic diversity of labor force, please see Akbari (2006).

  9. Among the many services available for integration of newcomers, some include: the pre-arrival services provided by Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services of Nova Scotia to those approved to settle in Nova Scotia, and the pre-employment readiness service provided by Association of Newcomers to Newfoundland and Labrador which also participates in the Acquiring eXperience and Integrating Skills (AXIS) career service provided to newcomers.

  10. There is some controversy between federal government and the government of PEI over the implementation of PNP, and its investment partner category was shut down in September 2008 (Wright 2010). As of December 31, 2012, the PEI PNP has closed.


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The author thanks Maurice Mandale, former senior policy analyst of Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, for his valuable comments on an initial draft of this article.

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Correspondence to Ather H. Akbari.

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Akbari, A.H. Human Resource Deficit in Atlantic Canada: A Challenge for Regional Economic Development. Int. Migration & Integration 16, 225–236 (2015).

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  • Immigration
  • Labor training
  • Labor force development
  • Regional economic growth and development
  • Diversity