Small Centres, Big Opportunities

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live outside Halifax Regional Municipality? Would there be as much diversity as in a city? Would you find work? Would your business succeed? Would you be part of a community?

These are all challenges that newcomers face when moving to rural areas of Nova Scotia. Living in smaller towns or communities means a slower pace of life and more open spaces, but it can also mean feeling isolated. It can be overwhelming, especially with the added challenge of finding employment, housing or trying to start a business.

When you’re new to an area it’s important to feel supported and make local connections. But where do you start when you don’t know anyone?

Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding to live rurally:

  • Meet your neighbours. You never know who they might know or how you can build relationships in the future. People in rural areas are usually more interested in meeting other people and may have more time to talk.
  • Find a local place to frequent. This could be a grocery store, coffee shop or corner store. Getting to know people by name helps to make you feel more part of the community, even if it is only one person.
  • Be patient. Remember that it takes time to find any kind of employment, and it may take even longer to find a job in your field. The job market in rural Nova Scotia is competitive and there is less to choose from than in a city. Build your network and opportunities will arise.
  • Get involved. When moving to a rural area a great way to meet locals and make connections in the community is through volunteering. Although it may not be part of the culture in your native country, it is very much a part of Canadian culture. It can help you make connections that may lead to jobs, give you local references to add to your resume, and be a rewarding experience.

Many immigrants are now finding jobs in rural Nova Scotia. Between 2006 and 2009, immigrants in the rural labour force rose by 47 percent. Of 5,600 immigrants who came to the province between 2004-09, approximately 1,200 found jobs in rural Nova Scotia. Most of them work in service producing sector.

When you visit a smaller town or community, you will understand why people don’t want to leave!