The biggest challenge we face as a community is hanging on to our new graduates and attracting immigrants.
The above is an excerpt from the introduction to the Halifax Index 2014, an in-depth report from the Greater Halifax Partnership. The challenge is indeed significant. Halifax’s immigration numbers hit an eight-year low in 2013, while Nova Scotia only recruits about 30 per cent of the newcomers it should. Increasing those numbers in the coming years will play a major role in determining the city’s economic future.
The Now or Never Report (better known as the Ivany Report) found “almost every meeting identified immigration and bringing Nova Scotians home as keys to increasing population and prosperity.”
“I think it is incredibly important to us from an economic perspective,” says Fred Morley, the executive vice-president and chief economist at the GHP. “Immigrants bring lots of talent and often an entrepreneurial aspect.”
Two related trends are making the immigration issue even more critical: The migration of young people to western Canada is increasing significantly; while Nova Scotians are having fewer children. Halifax’s total population grew just 0.4 percent from 2012 to 2013, the slowest growth among benchmark cities, the GHP report notes.
More than half the city’s growth since 2000 has been from international immigration, but Nova Scotia gets just 0.9 per cent of all immigrants to Canada, despite having a population that is 2.7 percent of the national total…