09 February 2018
SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The provincial government and City of Saint John have agreed to undertake a series of short-, medium- and long-term measures to help grow the city’s economy.
“New Brunswick’s economy needs a strong Saint John,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “As your government, we will be there for Saint John and we will invest in economic growth to create more opportunities for the people of Saint John.”
On July 6, 2017, Mayor Don Darling called for a “new deal” for Saint John in his state of the city address. On Sept. 19, Gallant announced that the government was prepared to explore a new deal and talks have continued since that time.
“The measures announced today underscore the provincial government’s continued commitment to helping us shape a long-term sustainability vision for Saint John, and ensuring that we continue to play a leadership role in moving New Brunswick’s economy forward,” said Darling. “The funds will allow us to continue to deliver on core services that our citizens deserve, including public safety, municipal operations and parks and recreation.”
Under this agreement, the provincial government will immediately undertake several measures, including the following:
- Invest at least $270 million in infrastructure projects in Saint John.
- Invest more than $50 million in major tourism assets in Saint John.
- Work to grow Saint John’s population and workforce by promoting the Free Tuition Program and Youth Employment Fund with a special focus on Saint John, and guarantee that at least 25 per cent of immigrants under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project are attributed to employers in Saint John.
- Apply a preference that regional provincial assets be located in the city instead of in surrounding areas, as was done with a recently announced nursing home for Saint John.
- Address Saint John’s poverty challenges through a $10-million investment in Living SJ and other innovative partnerships.
- Support private sector development opportunities and subsidize job placements in Saint John through an enhanced Youth Employment Fund and other programs to help youth develop skills, obtain work experience and find jobs.
- Provide enhanced ability to pursue economic opportunities and priorities through the Opportunities NB and Fundy Regional Service Commission memorandum of understanding.
A working committee of senior officials representing the government and the city will be established to measure progress on these initiatives, and to propose other measures. The goal is to eliminate Saint John’s structural deficit through growth as quickly as possible, but the government has agreed to provide financial assistance of up to $22.8 million over three years if the deficit has not been eliminated.
Special arrangements and programs have been established in the past for regions and municipalities with sudden or structural economic challenges. This includes economic restructuring packages to diversify Moncton’s economy following the closure of major employers, including the CN Rail locomotive shops, assistance in the creation and implementation of a community action plan for Dalhousie and the surrounding area when several major employers ceased operations, assistance and skills training for workers in Miramichi when several major employers ceased operations, and the establishment of special economic development and innovation funds for northern New Brunswick.