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Annual Report 2018

Seeking solutions to economic and immigration issues

Economic Immigration Lab attendees

As New Brunswick continues to face the double threat of a population that is both shrinking and aging, New Brunswick’s Social and Public Innovation Lab (NouLAB) is moving into the second year of the Economic Immigration Lab, which is a project with multiple strategies for the province to attract and retain immigrants.

“New Brunswick is facing a crisis. By 2032, there will be one retiree for every person earning income in the province,” says Karina LeBlanc, executive director of the Pond-Deshpande Centre at UNB and interim acting director of the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network. “We need a new path.”

NouLAB, a program of UNB’s Pond-Deshpande Centre in collaboration with the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network, launched the Economic immigration Lab in the fall of 2017. More than 50 participants representing government, private sector, non-profit and citizens participated and provided input to 11 distinct projects with a first-year report developed.

“The province is looking to immigration to attract new people to live, work and contribute to the community. But how do we do that in ways that help ensure success?” LeBlanc asks. “This next cycle of the NouLAB social lab on economic immigration will continue to seek those answers.”

“Participants from the first cycle and second cycles on economic immigration formed strong, lasting partnerships leading to actionable solutions,” says Amanda Hachey, director of NouLAB.

Going into the second year, out of the 11 projects, NouLAB is going deeper and supporting five. This support will include detailed reporting, coaching support for the teams and expert advice on how to move forward. Projects range from supporting teachers in the public school system to educate with diversity in the classroom to a support system for guiding newcomers through the process of securing employment with New Brunswick employers.

NouLAB is a citizen-driven, citizen-owned asset of the province. It uses systems thinking and design thinking methods to tackle the big problems the province is facing. NouLAB has helped teams working on issues ranging from aging to rural revitalization and to housing for people with complex needs.