The next phase of the provincial government’s “Alberta is Calling” campaign, which will try to attract workers from northern and southwestern Ontario and the Maritimes, was launched Monday.
The Alberta government is hoping to address labour shortages in sectors like skilled trades, health care, food service and hospitality, accounting, engineering and technology.
“Almost every sector in Alberta needs people to fill the jobs,” said Brian Jean, Alberta’s minister of jobs, economy and northern development.
He said the $5-million push will include ads across multiple mediums, include transit ads and billboards.
Jean said this phase of the “Alberta is Calling” campaign is focusing on places where skilled workers need jobs, where there is high unemployment and underemployment.
Specifically, the provincial government said it is targeting St. John’s, N.L.; Charlottetown, P.E.I.; Moncton and Saint John, N.B.; and Halifax, N.S.; and in Ontario: Hamilton, London, Windsor, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay, Chatham, Timmins and Cornwall.
“We targeted these because of the high unemployment but also because of the highly skilled trades,” Jean said.
The first phase of the government’s campaign was focused on attracting workers from Vancouver and Toronto.
“This campaign is expanding to a number of different markets,” Jean said, “playing on the successes of the last campaign.”
Regarding the first phase, he said “the return on investment was fantastic,” citing net migration to Alberta at record levels. Jean said 33,000 Canadians moved to Alberta in the third quarter of 2022.
“Alberta is Calling” has touted the advantages of living in Alberta, saying the province has “the highest weekly earnings and lowest taxes in Canada,” an “excellent quality of life and affordable lifestyle,” “access to world-famous mountains and parks for year-round hiking, skiing, biking, and more than 300 days of sunshine per year.”
The next phase of the campaign will expand internationally, Jean said.
He explained the particular countries have not been identified yet but will likely target those where people face the fewest amount of barriers — language, education — in moving to Alberta.
Jennifer Henshaw with Restaurants Canada joined Jean for the announcement Monday in Canmore.
She highlighted the labour shortage in the hospitality and service industries specifically, saying many Alberta businesses have had to pivot, reduce hours and some are even operating at 80 per cent capacity due to “acute labour shortages” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Henshaw said Alberta has about 18,000 vacancies in its service sector.
In August 2022, then-premier Jason Kenney kicked off the “Alberta is Calling” campaign to lure skilled workers from Toronto and Vancouver.
The UCP government spent $2.6 million on that first phase, which included ads on social media, radio and posters in high-traffic areas.
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