October 1, 2008

Newfoundland and Labrador Sees First Annual Population Increase in 16 years

Newfoundland and Labrador�s population has increased by 1,436 from July 1, 2007 to July 1, 2008, representing the province�s first annual population increase in 16 years, said the Honourable Tom Marshall, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

According to Statistics Canada�s Demography Estimates, released on September 29, Newfoundland and Labrador�s population grew by 0.3 per cent to 507,895, as a result of positive net-migration of 1,713 people.

"This is exciting news for our province and is reflective of the renewed confidence that exists among Newfoundlanders and Labradorians here and abroad," said Minister Marshall. "New resource projects, such as the recently announced Hebron project, along with others on the horizon � the Lower Churchill, the VALE-Inco facility in Long Harbour, Hibernia South, White Rose expansion, expansion of the Iron Ore Company of Canada mining operations and the potential expansion of the Come-by-Chance oil refinery � will create even more employment opportunities in our province. Given the province�s strong economy and bright future, we are optimistic that we will see continued population growth in the years to come."

Minister Marshall said there is also a growing awareness of the significant strides the Williams Government has made in improving the province�s fiscal situation. After over 50 years of deficit, Newfoundland and Labrador expects to report another surplus for 2008-09, representing the fourth consecutive surplus for the province.

"Our government is committed to making investments that improve the lives of our residents," said Minister Marshall. "These investments are working. We have gone from being the province with the highest personal income tax to the fourth lowest in the country; and, we have the lowest unemployment rate in 26 years. We have made significant investments in social programming, including unprecedented investments in both the health and education systems of our province. And, we currently have an infrastructure plan valued at approximately $3 billion.

"Never before in our history have we been better positioned for success. However, in order to achieve our full potential we must continue to be prudent in our spending, reduce our net debt and make sound investments that are in the best long-term interests of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and that will make our province an attractive place to work, live and raise a family."

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Media contact:

Tansy Mundon
Director of Communications
Department of Finance
709-729-6830, 685-2646

2008 10 01                                                   11:45 a.m.

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