COVID-19 helped one family in Airdrie, Alta., decide it was time to return to Prince Edward Island after a decade of the Alberta Advantage.
“It’s not necessarily a great environment here,” Alicia Dowell told the Calgary Eyeopener, referring to the culture and politics of the province.
“I managed to find a job back at home that was more stable. We took the chance and are going to go for it.”
Fresh research and surveys along with cold, hard statistics point to a trend of more people leaving the province than coming to it. Since April 1 of last year — or the past five consecutive quarters — more than 15,000 people have left for good, according to Statistics Canada. Out-migration of Albertans to other provinces has left Alberta with a net loss of more than 5,000 this past quarter alone.
Dowell, a librarian, is part of the trend. She has worked in public libraries and most recently in a public school in Airdrie, a growing community just north of Calgary.
“I had my hours cut to where it wasn’t sustainable. I wasn’t making any money [after] paying for child care.”
Rewind to 10 years ago when Dowell arrived in Alberta.
‘Me first’ is putting family at risk
“It was a bit of a culture shock. It doesn’t feel as community based, it’s more individualistic. You know, ‘me first,'” she explained.
“That was fine and workable, until we are in a pandemic and everyone else’s ‘me first’ is putting me and my family potentially in danger.”
So just days ago, Dowell and her young family packed up the car and headed east. And she’s not alone.
Noah Arney moved from Calgary to Kamloops, B.C., in June.
“The direction in Alberta isn’t a good one,” Arney said.
“I work in post-secondary. The changes in the last two years have been quite damaging. About 20 per cent of my post-secondary friends have either left the province or the sector. I was thinking, I could stay here and try to support the students, with fewer and fewer [resources] every year or I could go somewhere else where they aren’t making such substantial cuts and laying so many people off.”
Studying the movement of younger Canadians from one province to another has kept one Mount Royal University professor and about 50 students busy with an innovative research project over the past year.
David Finch, a marketing professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, cautions that we are not dealing with current, clear-cut data.
“The data are quite poor. It’s dated and we are always playing catch up. We call it managing through a rearview mirror, which is horrible,” Finch explained.
“What we are seeing from the data now is validating the existing anecdotal evidence.”
And what is that anecdotal evidence?
“Young people are leaving the province for a variety of reasons — some tied to employment, some tied to economics or education,” Finch said.
ATB Financial weighed in with a report published late last month titled Alberta losing residents to B.C.
“About 77,000 people came to Alberta from other provinces and territories between April 2020 and June 2021, while almost 93,000 left, for a net loss of 16,000 residents,” wrote deputy ATB chief economist Rob Roach.
“The second quarter of 2021 saw a net outflow of 5,447, the largest loss since 2016.”
27% of young Calgarians say they’re out of here in 5 years
What’s behind the big change in a province known for the Alberta Advantage?
A City of Calgary survey last year might offer some insights.
The 2020 Calgary Attitudes and Outlook Survey found that among those in the 18-24 age bracket, 27 per cent said they would likely move away from the province’s largest city in about five years.
“In Alberta, there is a perception that there are a lack of diverse career pathways, leading people to look at other parts of Canada or beyond for opportunities in education or employment that may be closer aligned to their career objectives and social values,” Finch said.
“That’s a significant factor.”
There’s also a much greater distrust or discomfort about fossil fuel development, in the 18-29 demographic that Finch studied, as it relates to the environment and climate change.
“This age group has a very strong, committed perspective to issues associated with the environment, climate and renewable energy. They very much believe that fossil fuels, in a study I saw, are their parents’ fuel,” he said.
Meanwhile, P.E.I.-bound librarian Dowell says it’s about social values, and a lot more.
“Being able to move where child care is much cheaper and I don’t have to worry about being laid off at the whim of a government,” she said.
“We know of four other families that have gone recently and others that are expanding their job searches.”
Young people don’t share ‘Alberta’ values
And newly-minted Kamloops resident Arney is on the same page, and remote working during the pandemic has also opened some doors.
“If Calgary isn’t seen as a place to be, a place that has a bright future, people are going to choose other places in the country. I don’t have to stay here,” Arney said.
“If Alberta is cutting salaries and services, if people have the option of leaving, they might.”
Finch says his unique background has helped him understand the challenge Alberta is now facing.
“I am a marketing professor. I look at this as a purchasing decision,” he said.
“When people start evaluating options, they want a place that aligns to their values, where they feel they belong. We are starting to see some incongruence with younger people not feeling that the broader values of the province or their city are aligned with their long-term social values and goals.
“That’s important because that’s an intangible that will contribute to intent. Social values frame not only their life, but their career prospects and decisions.”
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday – CBC.ca
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday authorized booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, and said Americans can choose a shot that is different than their original inoculation.
The decision paves the way for millions more people in the United States to get the additional protection with the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus causing breakthrough infections among some who are fully vaccinated.
The agency previously authorized boosters of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months after the first round of shots to increase protection for people aged 65 and older, those at risk of severe disease and those who are exposed to the virus through their work.
Last week, an advisory panel to the FDA voted to recommend a third round of shots of the Moderna vaccine for the same groups.
The panel also recommended a second shot of the J&J vaccine for all recipients of the one-dose inoculation at least two months after receiving their first.
The FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were under some pressure to authorize the additional shots after the White House announced plans in August for a widespread booster campaign.
The advisory panel meeting included a presentation of data on mixing vaccines from a U.S. National Institutes of Health study in which 458 participants received some combination of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and J&J shots.
The data showed that people who initially got J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine had a stronger immune response when boosted with either the Pfizer or Moderna shot, and that “mixing and matching” booster shots of different types was safe in adults.
Many countries including Canada and the U.K. have backed mix-and-match strategies for the widely-used AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is not authorized in the United States but is based on similar viral vector technology as J&J’s vaccine.
Reuters reported in June that infectious disease experts were weighing the need for booster shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine after the J&J shot.
A CDC advisory committee on Thursday will make its recommendations about which groups of people should get the Moderna and J&J boosters, which the agency’s director will use to inform her final decision.
About 11.2 million people have so far received a booster dose, according to data from the CDC.
What’s happening in Canada
- Pandemic restriction opponents line up behind Manitoba PC leadership hopeful.
- Some unvaccinated municipal workers in northeastern Ontario sent home.
- N.L. sees 9 cases as officials make tweaks to fix vaccine passport issues.
What’s happening around the world
As of Wednesday, more than 241.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the world, according to the latest figures posted by Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.9 million, according to the U.S-based university’s coronavirus tracker.
In Europe, Russia will shut workplaces for a week, Latvia went back into lockdown for a month and Romanian funeral homes are running out of coffins, as vaccine-skeptic ex-communist countries face record highs of infections and deaths.
In Africa, Kenya lifted a nationwide curfew on Wednesday that has been in place since March 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
In the Americas, 41 per cent of people across Latin America and the Caribbean have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Pan American Health Organization said.
In Asia, China reported a fourth day of new, locally transmitted cases in a handful of cities across the country, spurring local governments to double down on efforts to track potential carriers amid the zero-tolerance policy.
N.Korea says U.S. overreacting over submarine missile test
This week’s test of a new ballistic missile from a submarine was part of North Korea’s mid- and long-term plan to bolster self defense and was and not aimed at the United States or any other country, an unnamed spokesperson at Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said, according to the official KCNA news agency.
Washington had taken “overly provocative moves” by calling the test a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and a threat to regional peace and stability, the spokesperson said.
The Security Council met on Wednesday over the launch at the request of the United States and Britain, and the U.S. envoy urged Pyongyang to accept offers of talks, reiterating that Washington has no hostile intent toward it.
The foreign ministry spokesperson said the United States’ “double standards” over missile development cast doubt over its overtures.
“It is a clear double standard that the United States denounces us for developing and testing the same weapons system it already has or was developing, and that only adds suspicions to their sincerity after saying they have no hostility towards us,” the spokesperson said in a statement carried by KCNA.
The United States and the council could face “more grave and serious consequences” if they opted for wrong behaviour, the spokesperson said, warning against “fiddling with a time bomb.”
(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; editing by Richard Pullin)
Britain in talks to sell missiles in arms deal with Ukraine -The Times
The UK government is in talks with Ukraine to sell it missiles for the first time in an arms deal, the Times reported on Wednesday.
Under the plans, the Ministry of Defence would provide surface-to surface and air-to-surface missiles to Ukraine, the newspaper added.
(Reporting by Nishit Jogi in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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