Attracting and retaining immigrants outside the metropolis: The case of Edmonton, Alberta – Tracey Derwing and Harvey Krahn

Advisory Council, Research

The municipal government of the province of Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton, commissioned a study in 2005 to determine how to attract more immigrants. City leaders were perplexed as to why Calgary, a city in the same province, of similar size with the same range of immigrant services, receives double the number of immigrants annually. In this paper, we describe the resulting study and discuss its attraction and retention recommendations. These suggestions are similar to those made by the researchers from other municipalities and regions seeking to increase their population via immigration. We compare Edmonton’s municipal and Alberta’s provincial immigration policies with those from elsewhere and discuss them in light of the national Canadian immigration policies. Given that the current federal government has no plans to increase immigration levels overall, different provinces and cities in Canada will be put in the position of having to compete for a relatively small number of newcomers, employing many of the same strategies. Without changes to federal policies, many communities may continue to struggle to attract immigrants.