Premier Jason Kenney held a press conference yesterday unveiling the "Alberta is Calling" plan, which is focused on bringing people from Toronto and Vancouver to work in Alberta instead.
Kenney explained that the Alberta Government has created a province full of jobs and investment opportunities through years of policy creation and removing red tape.
"We have achieved our goal of making Alberta once again a magnet for job creating investment. For several years there were policies driving investment and people out of our province, but we took the exact opposite approach with the job creation tax cut which has given Alberta by far the lowest taxes on employers in Canada. Lower than all 60 of the states and provinces in North America, except four US states."
"Alberta is back in a big way. But one of the biggest challenges to sustaining that amazing growth is having enough people to fill all of the jobs that are being created. As far as problems go, that's a pretty good one to have."
Alberta so far has the highest employment growth in Canada for 2022, with more than 68 000 new people working this year. For context, British Columbia and Ontario are in the 40 000s.
Kenney spoke of many reasons why people should move to Alberta, including but not limited to:
- Significantly lower home prices. The average price for a single detached home in Vancouver is 1.2 million dollars, while Calgary is sitting at $450 000 and Edmonton is at $380 000.
- Easier commutes. The average commute to work in Calgary or Edmonton is 26 minutes, while it's more than 40 minutes in Toronto and 50 in Vancouver.
- Over 10 years, a worker in Toronto earning around $125 000 a year would save more than $400 000 over a ten year period if they had the same job in Alberta.
- Alberta has the lowest taxes and highest wages in Canada, and Albertans enjoy the highest after-tax incomes in the country.
"Our message to the rest of Canada is this: Alberta wants you, Alberta needs you, Alberta is calling and there are many reasons why you should answer the call. The facts speak for themselves."
"Alberta is calling to say that your dream lives here. You can afford a house and be home in time to spend time with your family. Alberta is calling to say there is a better life out here. You can enjoy big city nightlife and culture and world class natural wonders all in the same day. Alberta is calling to say you're welcome here. Everyone, in every occupation from every walk of life and every background is welcome."
Kenney also said that Toronto and Vancouver specifically targeted because the cost of living there is incredibly expensive compared to Calgary and Edmonton, but the program is open to all provinces and anyone who would want to live in Alberta.
Kenney addressed potential criticism from some people who believe that focusing on bringing people into the province for jobs instead of giving those jobs to Albertans means that Albertans will have their jobs "stolen". He said this is not true, and will not be an issue. There are enough jobs for all here, and Alberta has always been about population growth driving the economy, and bringing people in from around Canada and the world is key in strengthening and diversifying the economy.
"I don't see it that way (in regards to "stolen" jobs). I think a rising tide lifts all boats. And I believe the vast majority of Albertans are welcoming, because so many of us come from somewhere else. The vast majority of Albertans are at most second generation Albertans. So we all have roots, apart from our Indigenous people, somewhere else."
The early growth of this year has Kenney optimistic about the future. He said 5400 more Canadians came to Alberta than left in the first three months of this year, and if that trend continues we'll have around 20 000 people of net migration into Alberta, which is back to where we were in our last boom of 2010-2014.
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