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Nova Scotia marks a record-breaking year for immigration to the province

Ava Czapalay, deputy immigration minister, appears before the Nova Scotia Legislature’s public accounts committee on Wednesday.

Ava Czapalay, deputy immigration minister, appears before the Nova Scotia Legislature’s public accounts committee on Wednesday.

Photo:  (Jean Laroche/CBC)


Province focused on attracting 'qualified people that Nova Scotia needs to grow its economy'

Nova Scotia is having another record-breaking year for immigration, even though it's not yet known how many people have settled in the province this fall.

The province's deputy immigration minister told the legislature's public accounts committee Wednesday that Nova Scotia surpassed last year's total of 9,025 new permanent residents almost three months ago.

This year, 10,670 new permanent residents have already been recorded from January to September, said Ava Czapalay.

That is more than any previous year and we still have three months remaining in the calendar year for processing.

The deputy minister — who recently returned from immigration fairs in Paris and Rabat, Morocco — said there was no shortage of people wanting to immigrate to Canada and settle in Nova Scotia.

She told the committee 83,000 applications were submitted to attend the Destination Canada fairs organized by the federal government.

The Canadian Embassy screened those applicants down to about 5,000, but we had everyone, from truck drivers to French teachers to doctors, nurses, all kinds of people, said Czapalay. Our job in Immigration and Population Growth is to bring in the qualified people that Nova Scotia needs to grow its economy.

'Come from away' attitude shifting

She pointed to the fact the department has six navigators spread out across the province to try to entice newcomers to settle, not only in Halifax, but in smaller, rural communities that need to grow. Those navigators are based in Halifax, Pictou, Cape Breton, Digby, Yarmouth, and Antigonish.

She told the committee individual Nova Scotians have a big part to play in whether immigrant families who come to the province end up staying. 

We need to wrap our arms around these newcomers and say, 'We want you and you're welcome, please stay,' said Czapalay.

Jennifer Watts, CEO of the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, reinforced that sentiment.

It's absolutely critical, Watts told reporters following the meeting. The sense of people having a sense of belonging and also seeing their future here in Nova Scotia, both for themselves and their families, is absolutely key to having people stay here and to retaining immigrants.

She said the come from away attitude some Nova Scotians feel toward people who weren't born and raised in the province is shifting.

I think people are very excited about seeing the opportunity of seeing people coming into their communities, said Watts.

Jean Laroche (new window) · CBC News