PEI

Province hopes to get Islanders to come home from away

The P.E.I. government is continuing its campaign to try to convince Islanders living away to come home with a new contest and some new research. A survey on repatriating Islanders back to P.E.I. says finding work is the key reason why Islanders leave — and a major factor in whether they will return.

New survey finds work is the main factor in decision to leave and to return

Julia Campbell returned to P.E.I. six years ago and joined the family business. She was part of the announcement of the Maybe You Should Come Home campaign. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

The P.E.I. government is continuing its campaign to try to convince Islanders living away to come home with a new contest and some new research.

A new survey on repatriating Islanders back to P.E.I. says finding work is the key reason why Islanders leave — and a major factor in whether they will return. 

UPEI's Institute of Island Studies heard from more than 680 respondents. For the purposes of the survey, an Islander was defined as "someone who has lived or visited the Island but currently does not live on P.E.I."

Holland College sent the link to the survey to 6,600 email addresses identified to be alumni and others not living on P.E.I. UPEI sent it to 4,006 individuals in their database listed as living off-Island, and Collège de l'Île sent it to 117 emails of alumni.

The survey found that 80 per cent of the respondents have an interest in moving back to Prince Edward Island. Lifestyle, finding a better work-life balance and family reunification were the most important reasons for wanting to return.

Most said they left for employment opportunities in the last two years. A majority of the respondents said employment-related reasons were the main reason they haven't moved back.

Jordan Cameron of Next Level Cookie talked about his experience coming home to P.E.I. and eventually finding a niche making specialty cookies. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Come home campaign

The government also launched a month-long social media campaign called Maybe You Should Come Home.

To enter, people need to post reasons to move back to P.E.I. The winner will receive a one-way flight to the Island from anywhere in the world.



Repatriating Islanders living elsewhere is a key part of the provincial government's population action plan.  The plan was launched in May 2017 with the goal of increasing P.E.I.'s population from its current 150,000 residents to 160,000 by 2022. 

As part of the population action plan, the government has also produced a video featuring about 10 new or repatriated Islanders extolling the virtues of life in the province.​

In February, P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan hosted a special reception in Toronto — that he called an Island social — as part of his population action plan. It was targeted at younger people who have ties to the Island.

In July 2017, P.E.I. hit the government's target population of 150,000 ahead of schedule, according to numbers released from Statistics Canada.

More P.E.I. news

About the Author

Nancy Russell has been a reporter with CBC since 1987, in Whitehorse, Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown. When not on the job, she spends her time on the water rowing, travelling to Kenya or walking her dog. Nancy.Russell@cbc.ca

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