New Brunswick Beckons Stateside Job Seekers

Moncton has sung the attractions of its low cost-of-living and maritime charm to prospective employees before, but since the U.S. election the city took its pitch to a new audience — Americans.

At the centre of the pitch to would-be workers, an ad portraying Uncle Sam with a Canadian flag in the background. The caption below: "Greater Moncton, New Brunswick, Wants You!"

New Brunswick has seen a decline in population in recent years. But Moncton is growing and recently surpassed Saint John as the biggest city in the province.

The city's advanced telecommunication infrastructure, bilingual workforce and low-cost of doing business have turned it into a software hub, but a shortage of skilled workers has been a challenge for local businesses.

Moncton area seeks to import 700 skilled American workers

There aren't enough qualified locals or Canadians willing to relocate, said provincial officials. So officials in a region hoping to boom devised a provocative plan to not go bust.

The campaign included a promise that Moncton would be holding a job fair in the U.S. It attracted a lot of interest, one recruiting agent fielding 300 calls in just the first few weeks.

The plan was not without critics, with some locals saying that there were lots of local candidates looking for work.

But with as many as 1,000 jobs unfilled, the plan moved forward. Logistical delays meant Moncton could only get around to holding a job fair in New York in late February. More than 300 people showed up at a Manhattan hotel.

Most already had good jobs, and most were of visible minorities. One of them, a Jamaican immigrant, had always worried about gun violence in the U.S. but when there was an uptick in reports of race-related incidents after Donald Trump's election, it was a tipping point for her.

Dovico was one of the five IT companies that took part in the job fair, hoping to get a handful of resumes. The company received more than 200. The company's COO says fast-tracking residency status to the Maritimes may prove the main attraction for people who aren't feeling as welcome in the U.S.