Saskatchewan cities attractive to newcomers, climb national ranking: study

By Scott Larson, The StarPhoenix September 18, 2014

Saskatchewan cities attractive to newcomers, climb national ranking: study

Strong economies have helped Regina and Saskatoon become more appealing to immigrants, according to a new report. The Conference Board of Canada’s City Magnets III: Benchmarking the Attractiveness of 50 Canadian Cities saw Regina place eighth and Saskatoon place 12th.

Photograph by: Greg Pender , The StarPhoenix

Strong economies have helped Regina and Saskatoon become more appealing to immigrants, according to a new report.

The Conference Board of Canada’s City Magnets III: Benchmarking the Attractiveness of 50 Canadian Cities saw Regina place eighth and Saskatoon place 12th.

Alan Arcand, associate director of the Centre for Municipal Studies, said both cities have seen sizable increases in newcomers as the local economies have improved.

“Saskatchewan’s resources have fostered rapid growth in Saskatoon and Regina,” Arcand said.

Regina and Saskatoon scored ‘B’ grades for attractiveness.

The report analyzes and benchmarks the features that make Canadian cities attractive to newcomer populations. The performance of these cities is compared on 43 indicators grouped into seven categories: society, health, economy, environment, education, innovation and housing. Data is based on the 2011 Census and National Household Survey.

“It is mostly (because of) the economy for Saskatchewan,” said Conference Board economist Greg Sutherland. “Saskatoon and Regina both scored an ‘A’ on the economy.”

Regina led all 50 cities in economic growth, while Saskatoon trailed narrowly behind in third. Despite their sizable increases in newcomers, both cities still scored relatively poorly in foreign-born population and evidence of multiculturalism.

Regina does well in environment and innovation, but scored low in health and housing, Sutherland said.

“Access to specialists or general practitioners was on the low side,” he said.

Saskatoon scored well on environment and had a better health rating than Regina.

The top 13 cities were Waterloo, Calgary, Ottawa, Richmond Hill, Vancouver, St. John’s, Nfld., Edmonton, Regina, Burnaby, B.C., Markham, Ont., Victoria, Saskatoon and Toronto.

The top six offer a unique combination of attributes that add up to a great place to live, the report said.

The bottom five cities were all from Ontario — Barrie, St. Catharines, Brantford, Cambridge and Oshawa — mostly because of the decline in manufacturing in those areas.

“A struggling manufacturing sector has really hurt them,” Sutherland said.

“They tend to have a less educated population. They don’t rank well in the society category either.”

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