PEI

Young people leave P.E.I. for jobs and culture say comments

The City of Charlottetown is asking youth to fill out a survey designed to get at the heart of why some young people leave the Island and why others decide to stay — and that survey has many of you talking.

Facebook commenters say jobs and culture two big reasons they left P.E.I.

A photo shows a lighthouse along the P.E.I. coast. The City of Charlottetown is surveying youth to find out why they leave the Island — and why they stay. (Jaime Walker/Flickr)

The City of Charlottetown is asking youth to fill out a survey designed to get at the heart of why some young people leave the Island and why others decide to stay — and that survey has many of you talking.

CBC P.E.I. posted the story about the survey to our Facebook page and the post was quickly flooded with comments about why people left or why people stayed.

(Note that usernames are not necessarily the commenters' names. Some comments have been altered slightly to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)

A lack of job opportunities in P.E.I.

Many of the comments focused on how hard it is to get a job on P.E.I. — and that it's even more difficult to find one that pays well.

Martha MacIntyre wrote that she tried to get a job with the P.E.I. government as a social worker for three years.

She recently interviewed for similar positions in Alberta.

"I can't even get on the casual list here in P.E.I., but I have been offered a full-time, permanent, social work job with the Government of Alberta," she wrote.

"I will have to make a decision soon, but will no doubt be leaving P.E.I. shortly, like far too many young people from P.E.I."

Kelly Gail also pointed to a lack of opportunities.

"Wish I had the job I have in Calgary back in P.E.I.!" she wrote.

'No future in the arts'

Renee Clory wrote that she left P.E.I. when she was 21.

"I saw no future in the arts there, or for anyone who doesn't quite fit the 'jock UPEI student' archetype," she wrote.

"It's a small-town feel, but it leads to a small-town mentality, which can make a lot of people feel alienated and ashamed for being different."

Clory doesn't think she will ever come back to the Island to stay.

Kiele Poirier, a graphic designer, echoed the sentiment.

She wrote she left P.E.I. because of a lack of jobs in the arts, "and pretty much zero culture."

"Comedy clubs, theatre, active arts community, variety of live music, entertainment in general is lacking," she wrote.

Incentives for local businesses needed

Amy Brewster commented that as a small business owner, it's difficult to stay afloat on the Island. She said she's thought about leaving P.E.I. many times.

"Make opening a business more appealing by lowering taxes on small business/small corporations would create more jobs, create more potential for interesting things to do and boost the economy," she wrote.

"It's the old way of thinking from Islanders that hurts the younger crowd," said Brewster.

'This is our home'

Billy Mackendrick commented that amongst negatives like a lack of work, low wages and high costs of rent, food and post-secondary education — the upside is family.

"This is our home, our families are here," he wrote.

The comment struck a chord.

"I miss my family every day," wrote Angie Christine.

"I highly agree with this. I know that there's very little for me here, and the only thing that has kept me here so far is money (a lack of it) and family," commented Colten Peters.

'I can't wait to go back'

Michelle Erving-Renaud commented that she left the Island 20 years ago, but regrets the move.

"It seemed hopeless that as a single mum then, I would ever be able to further my education make a better life," she wrote.

She went with her kids to Ontario and worked as a public servant, later returning to school and joining the military.

"Looking back now, I realize that what I did in Ontario, I could have easily done in P.E.I. There was nothing there stopping me other than myself, I just didn't realize it," she wrote. 

"I wish I had have stayed, went to Holland College, looked for a better job, because it is possible there … I can't wait to go back!"

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