Nova Scotia needs to welcome the world to our shores. In order to address our population challenges, we need much higher immigration levels to increase the number of entrepreneurs in our province and to renew our labour force.

And that means attracting more people from other provinces and countries. Interprovincial migration—for example, attracting recent immigrants or native Nova Scotians here from other provinces—is another method of boosting our population.

There are about 22,000 students who arrive in Nova Scotia each year for post-secondary programs, with almost 7,000 of them coming from other countries. Through a concerted focus on this annual influx of youthful opportunity, additional progress can be made to reverse our current demographic trend.

But a major push to increase total immigration is still required. Our total provincial population could fall from 943,000 last year to 878,000 by 2040, based on Finance and Treasury Board projections prepared in September, using the most recent Statistics Canada data.

Significant progress has been made this year in convincing the federal government to increase our Provincial Nominee Program to allow 1,350 immigrants, nearly double last year’s cap of 700 people.

With about 2,400 immigrants coming to Nova Scotia annually on average, we still have a long way to go to reach the Ivany Report target of 7,000 immigrants each year, and retaining 10 per cent of international graduates each year.

We recommend:

  • 4.1Convincing the federal government to provide steady annual increases to our immigration cap
  • 4.2Attract and keep more out-of-province and international students
  • 4.3Ensure our communities are welcoming and supportive for all newcomers

Our Recommendations

4.1 Increase Immigration to Nova Scotia

Immigration is a rich part of our history and culture, and we must insist that it is a priority at all levels of government and for every business. Newcomers enrich our province, and we believe there are two primary avenues to increase immigration:

  • Enhance the Provincial Nominee Program. To attract more newcomers, we need to work closely with the federal government and the business community to steadily increase the number of immigrants allocated to our province. In 2015, we doubled our federal allocation from 700 to 1,350. We believe we can do more.
  • Improve International Qualifications Recognition (IQR). Too many newcomers leave Nova Scotia because their qualifications aren’t recognized. We need to change this, and become a leader in North America in IQR. We believe every immigrant with professional credentials from their home country should be provided a fast track to allow recognition of these credentials in Nova Scotia.

4.2. Out-of-Province and International Students

Nova Scotia post-secondary institutions are very successful in attracting students from around the world. Not only should we continue to grow these numbers, but with approximately 1,000 international graduates every year, we believe we need to make sure these students have the opportunity to choose Nova Scotia as a permanent home after school.

4.3 Welcoming Communities and Workforce

Attracting newcomers is only half the battle. We have to work together to make sure that we do our best to welcome immigrants, support them as they settle in, and embrace their skills, experience and energy. Here’s how we believe we can do this:

  • Create welcoming communities that foster a spirit of inclusiveness and diversity
  • Support settlement services such as ISANS, the YMCA and Careers Nova Scotia Centres
  • Connect newcomers with Nova Scotian mentors as they enter the business environment
  • Support immigrant entrepreneurship and encourage their drive to succeed