Michelle Dunne, CanWest News Service

Newfoundland and Labrador is the latest Atlantic Canadian province to plan a national advertising campaign aimed at attracting former residents.

The province wants to lure Newfoundlanders who left for work to come back to their home province, says Andrea Nolan, a spokesperson for Premier Danny Williams.

“There will be a come-home campaign project of some sort in the new year. . . . The details are still to be decided, ” Nolan said Friday.

Newfoundland also announced plans for a $1,000 baby bonus this year — paid to parents for every new baby born.

In recent years Atlantic Canada’s population has flatlined, and will continue to drop, Statistics Canada predicts, due to low birth rates, continuous out-migration and difficulty attracting and retaining immigrants.

More than 37,500 Atlantic Canadians moved to another province or territory between 2005 and 2006, while only about 27,000 people moved into the Maritimes from other parts of Canada, according to StatsCan.

In a bid to boost population growth, the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia governments launched national marketing campaigns aimed at luring former residents back this year. Also, this fall, both governments partnered with the private sector and held national job fairs featuring Maritime companies.

And, Prince Edward Island started a job website this year aimed at showing former and current Islanders that the province offers a wealth of job opportunities.

“It might not be a bad idea,” said Ian Munro, director of research with the Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. It’s not that costly to “get a job fair together, or (an advertising) campaign.

“I don’t know how successful these campaigns will be yet.”

While Atlantic Canadian employers tend to pay workers less than in other parts of Canada, the lower cost of living and slower pace of life are advantages the public and private sector need to play up to attract more expatriates and immigrants, said Munro.

“The lifestyle and family are big factors,” said Halifax-based Munro.”I came home last year, even though I’m making less now than I did in Toronto. . . . It’s possible to lure people back.”