On June 6, the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce presented to the Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island on how the recent changes made to immigration and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) are affecting businesses in the sales and service industry on PEI and on our recommendations for the province.

The Chamber’s recommendations are that the Government of PEI:

  1. Pause this policy decision to reduce PR allocations by 25% and re-instate the full federal quota of 2,000 PR allocations for this calendar year.
  2. Ensure that established workers who have been working and living PEI prior to July 2023 be considered for the EOI process under the previous system (no points).
  3. Advocate to the federal government for work permit extensions for those workers who have been working and established in PEI prior to July 2023 and have work permits expiring in 2024.
  4. Commit to work closely with chambers and other representative organizations serving the private sector to develop clear messaging on ways in which employers can support their employees through various immigration pathways.
  5. Commit to timely consultation with Island chambers and other representative organizations serving the private sector on policies that impact business operations.

Bianca McGregor, CEO, and Madeline Biso, Policy Analyst & Media Relations Manager presented on behalf of the chamber. They were joined by Blake Doyle, past president of the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce.

Click here for the slideshow and here for the full video of the presentation and questioning period from committee members.


Did you know….

Our workforce is shrinking:

  • In 1980, there were 24 young workers available in Atlantic Canada for every 10 retirees. Today, there are only 7 workers for every 10 retirees.

Our population is aging:

  • In 2023, 40.4% of the working age population locally was 55 or older, signaling more workforce retirement is on its way. By 2033, that proportion could reach 42.2%.
  • According to the 2021 Census, Canada’s working-age population has never been older, seeing an all-time high of more than 1 in 5 working persons in Canada being between the ages of 55 and 64.
  • The senior population, according to the Province’s population framework, continues to be the fastest-growing age group on the Island.

We have less youth:

  • There have been more deaths than births in PEI. For example, from October 1 to December 1, 2023, there were 346 births and 411 deaths on PEI.
  • Since the 1990s, the natural increase (births minus deaths) in PEI has been declining and has been negative for five of the last six years.
  • Islanders are having less kids and the amount of young people in PEI has been reducing.

These changing demographics are contributing to current workforce shortages Chamber members are experiencing.  They will have a significant impact in decades to come – and something PEI needs to prepare for.