The Current

Atlantic Canada's grim economy worse than Alberta, in need of intervention

There's been much ink spilled about Alberta's economic woes of late. But in Atlantic Canada, the economic situation is grim with a forecast of grimmer. The Current checks in on the forces at play and how to right the ship.
All eyes have been on Alberta as the sinking price of oil has taken down its economy. But times are tough in Atlantic Canada too. (Dennis Jarvis/Flickr cc)

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Albertans are facing challenging times, and quite frankly, Canadians help other Canadians when they're facing tough times. That's just how Canada works. And that's exactly what we're going to do.- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledges support to Alberta

Of course, Alberta's economy has been hit hard by the oil price slump. But it's not the only region with a struggling economy. And even as the prime minister observed that "Canadians help other Canadians,"  some in Atlantic Canada say they're feeling neglected. 

Across Atlantic Canada the population is aging and economies are struggling.

For the first time in 2014, New Brunswick had more deaths than births. On average, people in Atlantic Canada earn 15 per cent less than other Canadians.

And in Newfoundland and Labrador the unemployment rate stands at 19.1 per cent. Compare that to Calgary, where the unemployment rate stood at seven per cent in December as the oil slump hit hard. 

So while eyes have been on Alberta lately, the economy in Atlantic Canada is in dire need of attention and action.

Guests in this segment:

  • Richard Saillant, director of the Donald J. Savoie Institute at University of Moncton.
  • Mark Austin, consultant on economic and community development, and operates a wild blueberry farm in Irwin Lake, N.S.. 

If you feel hard hit by the economy, and especially if you're in Atlantic Canada, let us know your experience and what ideas you have to turn things around? 

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This segment was produced by The Current's Julian Uzielli and Halifax Network Producer Mary Lynk.