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an ad for the Alberta is Calling campaign featuring a picture of a woman with her dog on top of a mountain taking a picture of Waterton, Alberta below her that is surrounded by Waterton Lake and lush greenery
Alberta is Calling Website

Alberta Is Calling…Again

Smith's government is spending $5 million to attract skilled workers

The Alberta government is rolling out the next phase of its ‘Alberta Is Calling’ campaign, but this time the province is targeting workers from the Maritimes and southwestern Ontario.

Back in 2022, former premier Jason Kenney launched the ‘Alberta is Calling’ campaign. Kenney’s campaign was meant to lure skilled workers from Toronto and Vancouver.

But to get people to move to Alberta, the province would need a carrot on a stick. The carrot was the promise of lower taxes, housing affordability, and shorter commutes. Oh, and don’t forget the backyard view of the Rockies.

In order to spread the word, the Alberta government dished out almost $3 million for advertisements on social media, radio, and posters in busy areas like Toronto’s Bloor-Yonge subway station.

Nowadays, the closest thing most Torontonians can get to a detached home is a cardboard box. So the promise of a house in Calgary was attractive to some.

In fact, according to Brian Jean, Alberta’s Minister of Jobs, nearly 33,000 Canadians moved to Alberta between the beginning of July and the end of September 2022.

But Alberta was just getting started. Now, Premier Smith’s government is dusting off one of Jason Kenney’s gambits and is launching an advertising campaign to entice people to fill staff shortages across sectors like health care, accounting, and engineering, to name just a few.

But Smith’s government is casting its fishing line in the Maritimes and southwestern Ontario instead of Toronto and Vancouver. In particular, the province is targeting:

  • St. John’s, NL
  • Charlottetown, PEI
  • Moncton and Saint John, NB
  • Halifax, NS
  • Hamilton, ON
  • London, ON
  • Windsor, ON
  • Sudbury, ON
  • Sault Ste. Marie, ON
  • North Bay, ON
  • Chatham, ON
  • Timmins, ON
  • Cornwall, ON

Smith’s campaign comes with a $5 million price tag, making it a hefty investment. On top of social media, radio, and posters, this money will go towards audio streaming, online displays, and billboard advertisements.

“We targeted these because of the high unemployment but also because of the type of skilled trades they have. They have highly skilled individuals in these job markets that are somewhat unemployed or underemployed,” said Jean during a conference in Canmore on Monday.

There are around 100,000 unfilled positions across many of Alberta’s sectors. In particular, staff shortages in the hospitality and service industries have been hit especially hard since the pandemic.

According to Restaurant Canada’s Jennifer Henshaw, there are around 18,000 job vacancies in the service sector alone.

But will the ‘Alberta is Calling’ campaign really attract the skilled workers it is hoping to?

Sure, housing is cheaper in Calgary than somewhere like Hamilton. But that doesn’t guarantee a Calgarian’s new neighbour will be a skilled engineer or accountant from Ontario.

While almost 33,000 Canadians have made the move to Alberta so far, how many of these people are actually skilled workers?

Only time will tell whether or not the ‘Alberta is Calling’ campaign can fill the province’s employment gaps.

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