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What We Heard Summary document

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Summary of the 2013 Newfoundland and Labrador Population Growth Public Consultations

Between March and December 2013, the Population Growth Strategy team of officials conducted meetings with interested parties, including community and private sector organizations, as well as the general public, to engage in discussions on how best to support population stability and growth in Newfoundland and Labrador.

What We Did: The Public Community Workshop Process

We held 11 public community workshops across the nine Rural Secretariat regions of the province. We were met by participants of different ages from many walks of life, each bringing unique perspectives and experiences to the discussion. At the start of each discussion we briefly introduced the process and the topics, followed by detailed note-taking of the ideas and suggestions residents came out to share with us.

To ensure every comment was collected during the community workshops, dedicated facilitators and note-takers sat at the tables with laptops to record each idea and suggestion. We provided all community workshop participants with electronic remotes that allowed them to vote anonymously during group polls and discussions.

Here are some numbers on the process, submissions, participants, and ideas we received:

  • 11 Community Workshops were held across Newfoundland and Labrador
  • 50+ written and other submissions were received
  • 55+ meetings were held with community, business, and other sectors
  • 480+ participants provided input

People liked the table discussion process, and felt they had an opportunity to have their say.

95 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "I liked the table discussion process used here today" during the community workshops

95 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "I was provided with an opportunity to have my say" during the community workshops

Locations of Consultation Sessions

*This demographic overview of participants is based on input received from individuals who responded to the anonymous group poll questions in community workshops.

What We Heard: The Ideas

Our discussions in the community workshops were sparked by four questions on some key areas of population growth:
  • The labour market
  • Family-friendly policies
  • Immigration
  • Community well-being

Here are some labour market ideas that residents we met with thought were important to consider for resident retention and attraction:

  • Non-financial incentives, professional development training;
  • Better coordination between the education system and the labour market;
  • Recognition of prior learning and qualifications for workers from Canada and abroad;
  • Regional economic development;
  • Increased focus on succession planning;
  • Boosting efforts to support local businesses.

On the topic of families, the most frequently discussed areas were:

  • Child care
  • Affordability of having and raising children
  • Flexibility in the workplace
  • Parental leave
  • Full day Kindergarten

In anonymous group polls on immigration, here are the findings we compiled:

Newcomers enrich Newfoundland and Labrador communities

84 percent of participants agreed that newcomers enrich Newfoundland and Labrador communities.

Immigration is important to population growth in Newfoundland and Labrador.

85 percent of participants agreed that immigration is important to population growth in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians want to help build a welcoming community.

89 percent of participants were willing to be involved on a personal level to help build a welcoming community

When it came to discussing what the participants felt made a lively, vibrant community, we heard that a vibrant community is most likely to be one where the residents:

  • are welcoming and inclusive;
  • have supportive employers that can accommodate families with children;
  • have a range of activities for children and youth of various age ranges;
  • promote and support arts and culture.

Some of the Common Keywords in Discussions

We summarized the most commonly used keywords during the public community workshop in the map below.

Word cloud in the shape of Newfoundland and Labrador map. Most commonly used keywords appear larger and bolder.

Where We Are Going: Next Steps

The Population Growth Strategy is currently under development and will be reflective of the input received through the public consultation process. We anticipate the release of the Strategy during 2014. The Population Growth Strategy will build on and support work currently conducted or completed by Government departments and agencies. As a strategy, it will establish government-wide and sector-specific goals and priorities in the area of population and demographics.

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