chatham kent alberta

Ontario town trying to lure Albertans in response to controversial campaign

Alberta’s provincial government fired shots Ontario's way in 2022 with its $2.6 million "Alberta is Calling" campaign, a desperate bid to lure skilled workers out west amid a labour shortage.

That campaign saw ads plastered throughout Toronto subway stations, gaining viral traction as locals reacted in horror to the prospect of moving to oil country. It also inspired one Ontario municipality to fight back with its own campaign targeting Albertans weary of their own sparsely-populated province with an invite to move east to, you know, actual civilization.

Chatham-Kent has issued what it calls a "friendly response" to the Alberta is Calling campaign, reminding westerners that Ontario still has some fantastic places to live, including bastions of affordability with thriving job markets.

Chatham-Kent Economic Development announced the new Why CK campaign on Wednesday, stating that it was devised in response to "radio ads currently playing in Chatham-Kent that highlight Alberta's job market, affordable housing, and lifestyle opportunities."

Westerners will be hearing a new series of radio ads airing in Calgary, introducing Alberta residents to Chatham-Kent in much the same way Alberta attempted to poach talent from Ontario.

"When we heard the Alberta radio ads, we knew we had to issue a friendly response letting Albertans know that Ontario, especially Chatham-Kent, are great places to live, work, and raise a family," said Mayor Darrin Canniff.

Canniff boasts that Chatham-Kent is "the fastest-growing community in Canada," and how the town offers a "thriving local economy, very affordable housing, and a strong sense of community."

Chatham-Kent hopes to attract Albertans with average detached home prices of $427,000, average one-bedroom rents at $1,210, and its wealth of career opportunities.

Westerners making the move to the town can also expect just 22 days of snow per year versus the approximately 570 days (a ballpark figure I totally just made up) per year of snow in Alberta.

Chatham-Kent also boasts 15-minute average commute times, and a whopping 226 kilometres of recreational trails and pathways. And sure, there are no amazing mountain views at the end of these trails, but did I mention the just 22 days of snow part?

Stuart McFadden, Director of Chatham-Kent Economic Development, notes that even before the campaign's launch, the municipality has already seen a surge in new residents.

"We've seen a significant increase in interest from people looking to move to Chatham-Kent from Ontario, from throughout Canada and globally," said McFadden.

"Our community offers a unique blend of rural and urban living, access to world-class amenities, logistics, and is extremely welcoming to new businesses of all sizes."

The ad campaign will blast Calgary airwaves for two weeks, with radio ads voiced by Chatham-Kent's Greg Hetherington of CKXS FM.

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