Alberta is calling… again

Alberta is learning that — while putting out an open invite is fun — sometimes you want to be more picky about who you have over.

What happened: Alberta launched the third phase of its Alberta is Calling campaign, which successfully lured in throngs of workers with its siren song (read: tax incentives and lower cost of living). This new phase will have a narrower scope, lasting just two months.

  • It aims to corral trade workers from Ontario, B.C., and Québec — some 2,000 of them — via a previously announced one-time, $5,000 refundable tax credit. 

Why it’s happening: Thanks to recruiting efforts, over 55,000 people migrated to Alberta from other provinces last year — the highest tally ever recorded nationwide— but a “skills mismatch” remains in the trades. For example, one in four job vacancies in Calgary relates to the construction sector.  

Why it matters: Alberta is a test case for the effects of mass interprovincial migration on the labour market. Calgary, the largest city in the province, has never seen more employed people (around 931,600) but also has its most unemployed people in nearly two years.

Bottom line: Provinces looking to emulate Alberta’s strategy to reap the benefits could be wary of the side effects. There’s a growing trend of folks moving to Calgary without a job lined up because they view it as more affordable and job-friendly, only to find that rents are surging and jobs are scarcer than they hoped.—QH