Lieutenant-Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador Judy Foote was part of 265 different events this past past year, held at Government House or other venues around the province
“It is because I still don’t have the word, ‘no,’ in my vocabulary,” she joked to local volunteers and business leaders attending a Rotary luncheon on Monday, Feb. 24.
Her speech detailed many topics on her role as lieutenant-governor, including the official residence grounds in St. John’s, encouraging volunteer nominations for the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, and innovation in different businesses in the province.
However, the bulk of her talk centred around ways to grow the population in the province, how to support and adapt with an aging existing population, and welcoming immigrants to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Foote says many of these discussions have stemmed from “sharing circle” listening events on important topics which have entertained individuals from all over the world.
With a shrinking population comes an issue with the workforce, she says.
“Despite the fact that there are roughly 220,000 individuals living in Newfoundland and Labrador over the age of 15 who are eligible and willing to work in the labour force, there is still a labour shortage,” said Foote at the meeting.
Continuing to welcome new residents through immigration is one avenue for the province to meet its future workforce needs, she adds.
Foote says statistics show the province lost about 1,000 people net through out-migration in the first quarter of 2019.
“We must continue to look for additional opportunities to help grow the population, the workforce and our communities.”
The lieutenant-governor told those in attendance her current non-political role continues work she’s tried to do throughout her career. She has been both a provincial and federal politician as well as a journalist.
The first sharing circle she hosted as lieutenant-governor was on mental health, another topic she sees as vital to the people of the province.
“We will continue to convene sharing circles because I think it’s really important to our province and our people that we do that. What is notable at these gatherings is a kindness and respect that participants show while sharing their experiences and discussing challenges.”
For the first time, Government House issued a report on the many things it has done over the year.
It’s available online at www.govhouse.nl.ca and in physical form as well.