Economic Immigration Lab


Who Should Participate?


Participants in the Economic Immigration Lab will:

  • Have a seat at the table to share their experience with the issue
  • Develop cross sector relationships
  • Make connections with the right people to create change

  • Prototype potential solutions

  • Contribute to create the change that is critical to NB’s future prosperity

  • Gain professional development experience in an innovative lab approach

In order for any social lab to be successful, it is imperative that the lab includes a diverse cross-section of participants. We’re looking for people who recognize that

a) we could improve our attraction and retention of newcomers to the region and,

b) that our current approach to addressing this challenge is not working. Ideally, lab participants would have first hand experience with the issue of immigration recruitment and retention from the perspective of an employer, a newcomer, settlement agency staff, municipal staff, and/or civil servants with the provincial or federal government.

Who Should Apply?

We are looking for diverse teams looking to work on answers to the following questions; How might we help newcomers find meaningful employment and feel part of the community? Or How might we help employers find the talent they need?  Diverse teams include stakeholders from government, academia, non-profit, and private sector who are connected to these issues. The NouLAB team can help you build a diverse team and to get the right government, academic, non-profit, and private sector voices around the table to move the issue forward.

The Commitment


Social labs are iterative processes, and they need to be in order to succeed. By submitting an application, you are committing to:

a) 8 days working intensively on the challenge;
b) Attend virtual coaching sessions with leading experts in social innovation; and
c) Work collaboratively with a diverse group of stakeholders.

Workshop dates: April 16th - 20th, 2018 (English);  April 30th - May 4th (French);

May 23rd - 25th, 2018 (Including the Atlantic Ballet's production 'Alien')



Moncton, NB



English workshop and materials will be in English and French workshop and materials will be in French. Bilingual facilitators will be available at both sessions.

The Application Process

February 23: Applications are open! Think about a specific issue within economic immigration in NB that you want to work on and start putting together a team of ~5 people. Look for folks also impacted by the issue but who come from different labour/social sectors to yourself. Be sure to contact the NouLAB team if you need any advice or have any questions about putting together a strong application.

The NouLAB team can help you build a diverse team and to get the right government, academic, non-profit, and private sector voices around the table to move the issue forward.

March 5: Applications are due in 11 days! Do you have a team? Is everyone aware of the time commitment? Make sure you have filled out and sent in the application!

March 16: Applications are due!

March 22: Acceptance letters sent out.

April 16 - 20: Cycle II English

April 30 - May 4: Cycle II French


The Challenge

New Brunswick is currently facing the double threat of an aging and shrinking population, which has led to a significant shortage of skilled workers in our province. There are over 3,200 unfilled jobs listed on and by 2032, there will be one retiree for every person earning income in New Brunswick. This imbalance not only puts a significant strain on our social services, but inhibits the potential for New Brunswick businesses to grow and compete in national and global economies.

Our Solution

Our solution is to work with employers, municipalities, community leaders, and the provincial and federal government to help position New Brunswick as a place of opportunity for skilled foreign workers. Every 1,000 new immigrant families that settle in New Brunswick with an average household income creates 50 million dollars in new consumer spending for the province. We have the jobs but lack the skilled workers to fill them. We have the social services, but the declining population will begin to put a burden on the tax base in New Brunswick. Luckily, we also have the foresight to know that growing our population will only be good for all of us.

How, then, might we become leaders at attracting, welcoming and retaining newcomers to the New Brunswick Economy?

How might we help newcomers to find meaningful employment and to feel part of the NB community?

How might we help employers find talent to grow their businesses?

We propose to work with key stakeholders in New Brunswick on this very question, and we invite you to join us.

The Lab Approach


Many challenges we face today are complex and systemic, with no one clear cause or trigger. Indeed, unpacking how we might become leaders at attracting, welcoming and retaining newcomers to grow the New Brunswick economy has no clear one size fits all answer. A social lab is a multi-faceted approach that involves facilitated processes to help anybody - from individuals to multi-stakeholder groups - address complex problems, such as Economic Immigration. Social labs are, by nature, social, experimental and systemic.

They are social.

Social labs start by bringing together diverse stakeholders to work in a team that acts collectively. Participants are drawn from different sectors of society such as government, business and the community. The participation of diverse stakeholders with various different interests in the challenge, as opposed to teams of experts, defines the social nature of social labs.

They are experimental.

Social labs are not one-off experiences, but ongoing and sustained efforts. The lab team takes an iterative approach to the challenges it wants to address—prototyping and testing interventions, incorporating feedback, and managing a portfolio of promising solutions.

They are systemic.

The ideas and initiatives developed in social labs go beyond dealing with just the symptoms of an issue, but instead address the root causes of why things aren’t working.

Social issues are collective action problems where some form of capital is found wanting or being depleted. In a challenge like population decline and immigration retention, we see a decline in multiple forms of capital - social, financial and cultural - for example: lack of labour to fill labour needs, reduction in new business, reduction in tax base for municipalities, reduced population in schools, etc.

Successful social labs can re-generate these different forms of capital in order to address the most complex challenges.

NouLAB Process


Facilitation team

NouLAB is New Brunswick’s public and social innovation lab. We help the public and innovators act together to address our most pressing social, environmental, and economic challenges. By connecting change agents from across sectors, convening them around pressing issues, and facilitating their journey to deep change, NouLAB is making the change process smarter.

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