OTTAWA, April 17, 2013 /CNW/ - People who come to Saskatchewan from abroad drive more trade with their home countries and help to diversify the province's economic growth, according to a Conference Board of Canada report.
"Regardless of relative wealth, presence of a trade office, distance, or language spoken, Saskatchewan is more likely to import goods from and export goods to countries that have an increased immigrant presence in the province," said Michelle Parkouda, Senior Research Associate. "The unique finding of this research is that increases in imports and exports are country-specific and linked to the source of immigrants.
The report The Influence of Immigrants on Trade Diversification in Saskatchewan is published for the Leaders' Roundtable on Immigration and the Saskatchewan Institute. The Saskatchewan Institute is a major multi-year initiative of the Conference Board conducting research on the issues affecting Saskatchewan's future prosperity. Complementing the work of the Saskatchewan Institute, the Saskatchewan Forum 2013 takes place May 14-15 in Saskatoon.
Based on this analysis, a one per cent increase in the number of immigrants living in Saskatchewan is associated with increases of approximately $30 million in imported goods and $41 million in exported goods.
"This research demonstrates that increasing ethnic diversity through immigration can promote trade diversification. As Saskatchewan continues to welcome increasing numbers of immigrants from around the world, this will have the potential to stimulate additional opportunities for trade outside of North America," said Parkouda. Like the rest of Canada, Saskatchewan is heavily dependent on the United States for trade, although trading patterns are slowly shifting. Managing the relationship with China is a theme of the forthcoming Saskatchewan Forum, where speakers will address issues of access for Canadian resources to the Chinese market and a framework for Chinese foreign direct investment in Saskatchewan.
In 2006, a total of 48,160 immigrants resided in Saskatchewan, representing approximately five per cent of the province's population. However, immigration levels have soared in recent years. In 2011 alone, 8,995 newcomers immigrated to Saskatchewan. Yet the province is still experiencing labour shortages. All available sources of talent, including the growing Aboriginal population - need to be part of Saskatchewan's growth.
A separate Conference Board executive action briefing provides guidance and tools on how to measure innovation contributions made by newcomers to Canada. Immigrant employees, through their innovation skills, can generate a measurable return on the investment that their organizations make in them. Organizations should be making investments in immigrants as part of an innovation strategy. The tools to measure innovation include:
- Guidance on, and examples of, Return on Investment calculations;
- A checklist including five steps businesses can take to determine which practices and policies are most relevant to measure; and
- Information on three Conference Board innovation tools.
This publication, Immigrants and Innovation: How to Measure the Return on Your Investment in Immigrants as Innovators, is available at www.e-library.ca.
The Leaders Roundtable on Immigration is meeting Wednesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 18 in Winnipeg.
SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
For further information:
Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448