The following release was issued by the Council of Atlantic Premiers following their meeting in Saint John today:
The Atlantic premiers are focused on developing the region’s natural and human resources and enhancing international trade efforts in order to strengthen the economy and create new opportunities for Atlantic Canadians.
The premiers see the energy sector as a key driver for jobs and economic development. Atlantic Canada has abundant energy resources, including oil and natural gas, hydro, and wind. They believe that responsible development of these resources and actions to improve interconnections and remove impediments to energy transmission and transportation will help create secure and stable energy supplies, improve market access and sustain economic growth and job creation.
Realizing the potential of the region’s economy also requires skilled workers. The premiers are working together to build the workforce required for economic growth. Today they signed a Memorandum of Understanding on apprenticeship harmonization that will help retain skilled workers for current and future development. Through the Atlantic Workforce Partnership, the Atlantic provinces are leading the country in aligning their apprenticeship programs and are accelerating their efforts.
The premiers want to work with the federal government to ensure that Atlantic Canada has a trained and skilled workforce that is able to meet new economic opportunities. Maintaining the existing Labour Market Development Agreements, providing greater flexibility in recruiting and retaining immigrants and ensuring the Temporary Foreign Worker program can assist in meeting the needs of all economic sectors are important actions that will support continued growth for Atlantic Canada.
Prince Edward Island will host the annual meeting of all the premiers this summer in Charlottetown. The Atlantic premiers are committed to raising issues of concern to Atlantic Canadians with their colleagues, including skills training, energy development, economic competitiveness, immigration and addressing the challenges created by an aging population.