PULLING TOGETHER: THE ONE NOVA SCOTIA COALITION
The ONE Nova Scotia Coalition came together in 2014 at the request of the Government of Nova Scotia with a mandate to develop a 10-year plan to help achieve the ambitious goals set out in the report of the Commission on Building Our New Economy – commonly known as the Ivany Report.
The Ivany Report found Nova Scotia is staring into an abyss that will lead to extended decline if it is not reversed. Particular challenges that have been identified include: poor economic performance; an aging workforce; high dependence on government support; youth outmigration, particularly from rural communities and limited business investment in innovation and productivity.
Nova Scotia’s economic growth—percentage increase in gross domestic product (GDP)—has been last among Canadian provinces, on average, for the past two decades. This measure of the economy correlates closely with employment opportunities and personal incomes, as well as the ability of the public sector to generate revenue to provide public services.
Our weak economic performance exacerbates our population outlook. Nova Scotia’s outlook has worsened since the Ivany Report; the provincial Department of Finance projects our population will drop from about 943,000 last year to approximately 878,000 by 2040.
Nova Scotia needs more immigrants, more inter-provincial migration, and to improve youth retention. Our population is aging, a trend that is amplified by our outmigration of youth, especially as employment opportunities have declined in rural communities. The Ivany Report emphasizes the need for more vibrant private sector growth to strengthen rural communities. It is important also to recognize the essential role of the public sector in providing good quality and widely available health, education, and other public services, so that depopulation of our rural areas can be stabilized.
The Ivany Report was blunt: It found Nova Scotia was being held back by “parochial competition over shares of a shrinking pie, rather than increased collaboration and concerted effort to grow the pie.” We have traditionally been divided along lines of rural and urban, young and old, Cape Breton and the mainland, one community against the next. In a world of global trade and rapid innovation, these attitudes are holding us back. For many Nova Scotians, the promise of change receives a resounding cheer, until it lands with a thud on our own doorsteps. This is where strong leadership comes in. We need leaders of business, communities, organizations and government to lead by example. Some already have, including those at the forefront of the ONE Nova Scotia movement. But a much broader push is clearly required if we are to achieve transformative change.
THE COLLABORATIVE ACTION PLAN
This report presents the Coalition’s recommendations to animate collaborative action by governments, business, post-secondary education (PSE) institutions, civil society organizations and Nova Scotians themselves, to create a bright future for the province made possible by our many strengths. It has seven Action Points:
The Early Years: Starting Strong
Our Future is Young
Universities and NSCC as Innovation Hubs
Immigration and Welcoming Communities
Our ICT Momentum
Going Global: Innovation and Competitiveness
Nova Scotia’s Ocean Advantage