Even as we all navigated the challenges brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2021, Opportunities NB (ONB) remained committed to working with businesses to help them grow and succeed.

Although the last 22 months have brought economic uncertainties for many, ONB has witnessed incredible resilience from businesses all over the province. The “can-do” attitude demonstrated by industry has been remarkable and we are proud to work with our partners at all levels to continue helping businesses respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Heading into this new year, we are excited to look back at the many successes our province had in 2021 and highlight the many success stories that we have been a part of along the way. We have witnessed growth across all corners of the province and in all sectors.

ONB’s mandate steering New Brunswick’s private sector investment, economic policy, and recruitment, retention, and talent growth efforts has led to a whole-of-government approach when developing strategy, policy, and action plans. This new approach is paying dividends through emerging partnerships with governmental departments, stakeholders, and industry in New Brunswick.

With 2022 now in full swing, it is important to continue building on our successes with more private sector investments, talent to fill the jobs and grow our population, and innovation partnerships with governmental departments and industry in New Brunswick. ONB is dedicated to continuing to work with our federal, provincial, and sectoral partners to drive continued success this year and into the future.

Following are updates related to our focus of growing ONB’s client base by connecting with staff in all corners of the province, supporting the business response efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic, fostering business growth, increasing immigration, and globalizing the ONB brand.

COVID-19 Supports:

Although the days of the COVID-19 pandemic have been uncertain, our dedication to businesses has not. ONB led recovery efforts throughout the waves of COVID-19. We understood that to really be there for businesses, we needed to keep lines of communications open. Following any governmental mandates relating to COVID-19, ONB’s Business Navigator team was the go-to resource to help answer questions and support NB’s business community.

During the fourth wave of the pandemic, between September 14 and October 1, 2021, the team received and handled 2000 inquiries from New Brunswickers.

The Business Navigator team continues to work with companies to help them understand and implement safety measures and support businesses through the evolving COVID-19 landscape in New Brunswick.

New Brunswick First:

The New Brunswick First Procurement Strategy supports the government’s priority of Energizing the Private Sector by recognizing that public procurement is a lever for economic development, supporting local business and reducing barriers in obtaining NB government contracts.

This strategy is the result of a collaborative effort between Service New Brunswick, ONB, and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. The ongoing work is supported through ongoing partnerships with NB Power and extensive consultations with New Brunswick suppliers and industry associations.

NB First is all about growing opportunities for New Brunswick businesses to sell more in New Brunswick. ONB’s goal is to help businesses scale up and participate in New Brunswick’s private and public supply chain. We continue to collaborate to promote opportunities for New Brunswick companies and to further substitute imports with NB products and services.

Fostering Business Growth:

We are passionate about helping businesses strengthen their competitiveness with the goal of scaling up their businesses including exports outside of NB.

From increasing exports to aiding in the public and private supply chains, every year, ONB’s services help businesses grow throughout the province.

Since the inception of the organization in 2015, ONB has contributed more than $1,550,000,000 to the GDP, helped create more than 8,940 jobs, with average salaries of $45,422. You can read more online on ONB’s Results Page.

As referenced in the Annual Report, ONB’s Fiscal 2020–2021 Highlights include:

  • Approving 262 applications for Phase 1 of the Small Business Recovery Grant, for a total of $1.1M in support;
  • Assisting in the creation of 382 jobs, with average salaries of $54,954;
  • Helping 60 companies register for New Brunswick Opportunities Network (NBON), exceeding our yearly target by 200%;
  • Investing $463,000 to support 11 productivity projects; and,
  • Helping 36 companies export into 94 markets, leading to projected sales of $22M.

Making their move to New Brunswick:

Growing our population goes hand-in-hand with growing our economy and a focused approach is an integral step forward to creating a sustainable province for future generations. We know our people are our best investment, and we must attract more.

New Brunswick’s population was estimated to be 794,300 as of October 1, 2021, up 5,075 over the previous quarter and 11,043 over the same quarter last year. This represents a 1.41% increase over October 2020 and is the highest growth rate since July 1976.

When Opportunities New Brunswick assumed responsibility for Immigration and Population Growth, we set focus on key annual targets to meet our strategic objectives.

This year our target was 750 international student nominations. However, in 2021, ONB exceeded our target, reaching over 1000 international student nominations in New Brunswick.

Our goal this year was to reach 28% of this year’s total nominations being awarded to French speakers and we met that target too.  New Brunswick is the only bilingual province in Canada, and we continue to promote what that can mean for businesses. This includes promoting our population growth goals, encouraging international study, increasing private sector and tourism investment, and fostering collaboration amongst business leaders. We continue to work with employers on promoting francophone immigration, especially in francophone communities.  We also have targeted recruitment missions in francophone countries.

Globalizing New Brunswick’s Brand:

Another part of our pro-growth agenda is promoting our province’s unique value proposition – what we call the winning combination of our People, our Innovation, our Agility, and our Infrastructure. Putting our province’s best foot forward for the purposes of population growth, investment attraction, and even provincial pride is always our top priority. Population growth initiatives have the potential to attract new people, new jobs, and new businesses to the province. They lead to more annual revenue for regions in New Brunswick.

By connecting nominations to jobs that need filling in the province, helps us improve recruitment numbers in New Brunswick. Connecting nominations to meaningful work helps improve our retention outcomes. We are proud to not only be highlighting the ability to work from anywhere in New Brunswick, but also how wonderful it is to live here.

One example of this brought to life is 2020/21 Live for the Moment NB campaign. Intended to attract individuals working from home in other provinces, the targeted campaign showcased our province’s quality of life and affordability. Not only did it succeed in attracting new New Brunswickers, but it also created chatter across the country for its unique take on the pandemic opportunity.

Opportunities New Brunswick was also proud to welcome a delegation of more than 50 representatives and dignitaries from India in November and show them around, New Brunswick.

This visit provided us the opportunity to put our best foot forward and promote all that our province has to offer. We were able to start a real conversation about attracting investment and people to the province.

ONB was absolutely thrilled to spend two days with the NASSCOM delegation, and we are thrilled to continue working together for the betterment of both of our communities.

In 2021, the ONB Communications and Marketing team shared more than 50 success stories from New Brunswick companies and people. For more information, or to read about the 2021 successes in your region, please follow us on: