International immigration feeds Saskatoon’s growing city
According to Statistics Canada, for the one-year period ending July 2010, Saskatoon has had a larger population growth than any other Canadian city. For the first time in decades, the Saskatchewan city has grown faster than cities in Alberta. Saskatoon now has more than 265,000 residents, which is a 3% jump from the previous year.
There was a net increase of 7,200 people during that year, including more than 3,300 international immigrants that moved to the city. That amount of immigrants is higher than the number that went to Hamilton and Quebec City, cities which usually attract more immigrants than all of Saskatchewan.
One of the causes of the spike in international immigrants is the expedited application process of the provincial nominee program. It has also made Regina the third fastest-growing city in Canada, behind Vancouver.
The booming aboriginal population is another reason Saskatoon’s population has ballooned.
Immigrants taking jobs poses problems for Saskatoon’s aboriginal people
The influx of immigrants creates a difficult situation for Saskatoon as the newcomers typically take entry-level jobs, mostly in the service sector, even though they often have experience in medicine or engineering. The entry-level jobs represent the only way some young aboriginals have of breaking into the labour market.
Eric Howe, a University of Saskatchewan economics professor, is concerned that the growing aboriginal population has less opportunity to join the economic mainstream.
“You have this young aboriginal population that on average is not very well off and on average not very well educated,” he said.
Often, aboriginal youth are coming off of three generations of welfare dependency, and if they are not involved in the workforce, it can be problematic.
Saskatoon is Canada’s youngest city, too
Due to the high birth rates among aboriginals, and the arrival of young international families, Saskatoon’s residents are the youngest in the country, on average.