“Alberta is Calling”: A Campaign to Attract Ontario Workers
Image taken from the Alberta government's “Alberta is Calling” promotional campaign, aimed in particular at Toronto workers.
No sales tax to pay, affordable homes, a connection to nature are some of the selling points put forward by the Government of Alberta in an advertising campaign to attract Toronto workers.
In the Queen City subway, posters with catchy slogans and photos of breathtaking landscapes have just been plastered. This is actually the second phase of Alberta is Calling (Alberta is calling you), a seduction operation launched in August by the Western province, in Toronto but also in Vancouver, to recruit workers there.
The “Alberta is Calling” campaign deployed on the steps of the Toronto subway.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was in Toronto last Wednesday to promote it. Alberta offers one of the best qualities of life, at one of the lowest costs in Canada, he maintains.
The province thus seeks to take by the feelings city dwellers exasperated, among other things, by the housing crisis.
This is precisely what convinced Yash Chauhan to leave Toronto for Calgary in February. I'm not going to lie to you: one of the main reasons was the reasonable real estate prices. I moved to Canada three years ago, and given the extremely high rent costs in Toronto, and the desire to buy a house, Calgary seemed like a good idea, he says. /p>
The Alberta campaign highlights statistics from the Canadian Real Estate Association, which show that the average sale price of a home over the past three years in Calgary was $484,000 (48% of the price a house in Greater Toronto), and $383,000 in Edmonton (38%).
Yash Chauhan moved to Calgary in February to take advantage of real estate prices.
Yash Chauhan says he bought his house in Alberta's economic capital before he even moved there.
“I left everything I had in Toronto. I filled up my car and drove off.
—Calgary resident Yash Chauhan
He says he left with no expectations, at first just to try the experience. But for now, the young man intends to stay in the West.
If Alberta made this appeal, it is because it has more 100,000 vacancies to be filled, according to a government statement.
78% of Alberta businesses are reporting shortages limiting their ability to meet demand, reads.
Anil Verma, professor emeritus at the University's Rotman School of Management Toronto, acknowledges that the housing argument may be appealing to some, but adds that other factors must be considered before considering such a lifestyle change. The greater diversity of jobs in southern Ontario is one, he says.
For dual-career couples — when two people in a family work, and it can be in different industries — it's easier to find a job in GTA than in Calgary, the professor points out.
If you look at the distribution of industries in Ontario and Alberta, Alberta's economy is more closely based on oil, gas, and other extractive industries like mining. In Ontario the scope is wider. There is the entertainment industry, advanced technologies, there are many sectors that offer good opportunities.
A large billboard in the Toronto subway, showing a landscape of the Rockies
Professor Verma commends Alberta's efforts for this campaign, but notes that this is not the first time we have seen an operation of this kind nor the first province to do so.
In reality, all the provinces are facing labor shortages and are in competition, underlines the expert.
It's mainly an advertising campaign, but I don't see any financial support associated with it. If there were subsidies for moving, that could change the situation. But here it just says "come to Alberta because we have good things to offer".
The Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario in general have their own attractions, it's also not a terrible place to live, he adds.
The Alberta is Calling campaign will cost a total of 2 $.6 million, according to the provincial government.
With information from Natalie Kalata, CBC