New Brunswick

Saint John looking for people willing to take a 'workcation'

Saint John Chamber of Commerce trying to attract remote workers to city.

Chamber of Commerce wants people working remotely to give living in Saint John a shot

Participants would temporarily move to Saint John and experience what the city has to offer, while continuing to work in their remote jobs. (Julia Wright / CBC)

Instead of looking to attract more jobs to the region, the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce is hoping to attract more people who already have one.

The Workcation program is aimed at attracting people who work remotely to the region for a test spin.

Participants would temporarily move to Saint John and experience what the city has to offer, while continuing to work in their remote jobs.

David Duplisea, the chamber's CEO, said he thinks if people experience Saint John living, they won't want to leave.

"The simple concept behind it is that if we can attract people that already have jobs to come to the Saint John region, then we will really be able to highlight some of the things that make it most attractive to those of us that already live here," said Duplisea.

Duplisea pitches the idea as a "subsidized concierge service" where, depending on the applicant, some of the cost of the temporary move may be covered by the program.

The program also helps participants find a place to live,  as well as connects them with businesses and groups that can make them feel more at home.

At the moment the chamber is focusing on attracting other Canadians to come to Saint John, since COVID-19 has made entering the country more difficult.

Duplisea pointed to the thousands of people who left Toronto last year, in a "just looking to 'get out of Dodge' type of thing for a quieter lifestyle."

Duplisea said the pandemic gives the group an opportunity to get people thinking about the possibility of coming to Saint John.

"We get into their decision making cycle while they're still sitting there thinking about where they might want to go and how it's going to work out," said Duplisea.

With files from Information Morning Saint John

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