Although Moose Jaw’s population shrank by 0.7 per cent between 2016 and 2021, according to the recent census, Mayor Clive Tolley still believes the community is poised for future growth.
The federal government released the 2021 Census on Feb. 9, with the data providing a detailed statistical portrait of Canada and its people by their demographic, social and economic characteristics.
Canada’s population grew by 5.2 per cent between 2016 and 2021 and now stands at 36.9 million people.
Data shows that Moose Jaw’s population was 33,665 people in 2021 compared to 33,910 people in 2016. This is a drop of 245 people or 0.7 per cent.
This decline is less than the 1.5-per-cent drop in population between 2011 and 2016 when the number of people living in The Friendly City declined to 33,910 from 34,421. That was a drop of 511 people.
“Based on the activity I’ve witnessed over the last few years, from new homes to new business and industrial development, I’m a little surprised at the Census numbers,” said Mayor Clive Tolley. “But I’m confident we’re on an upward trend. As current vacant job openings across all sectors in Moose Jaw are filled, our population will grow substantially.”
City council and city administration have created an atmosphere of growth in Moose Jaw during the last few years, he continued. This atmosphere has attracted several major projects, such as SaskPower’s Great Plains Power Station, a new sow processing plant at the former XL Beef Plant, the new Canadian Tire store, and a new hotel, among other initiatives.
“There are hundreds of new jobs associated with these projects and that will also result in new residents,” the mayor remarked.
Tolley pointed to the Rural and Northern Immigration Program (RNIP) as an initiative that has brought new people to Moose Jaw. The program approved 33 candidates or families to live here in 2021, while the initiative is expected to approve another 100 candidates and/or families this year.
The Conference Board of Canada (CBOC) recently agreed that immigration is a driver of growth, noting that 65 per cent of Canada’s population increase is from people coming from overseas and not due to natural births. The CBOC predicts that by 2035, almost 100 per cent of Canada’s population growth will be through immigration.
The mayor also pointed to the new agriculture and food production program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Moose Jaw campus as an initiative that will drive growth in the community, along with the new joint-use elementary school slated for construction in the Westheath subdivision on South Hill.
“We have an exciting economic strategy and we’ve made a commitment to invest in our community,” Tolley added, “and we will aggressively market the benefits that will come to you, your family and your business when you make a ‘Notorious Move’ to Moose Jaw.”