Immigration a Priority for Nova Scotia, Op-Ed
We’ve heard the refrain time and again: Nova Scotia needs immigrants. Our aging population, combined with our growing need for trained workers, means that we need to act fast, or risk falling behind. We need more immigrants to come, work, and stay in Nova Scotia.
That’s why government has placed such a high priority on immigration. It’s why we will continue to work with the federal government to maximize Nova Scotia’s potential.
A key part of Nova Scotia’s success in attracting and retaining immigrants will be the relationship we forge with our federal counterparts. Immigration is a shared responsibility between the federal government and the provinces and territories. The federal government has the lion’s share of that responsibility, and largely sets immigration policy, a fact that is widely misunderstood.
Through the Nova Scotia Nominee Program, the province can nominate potential immigrants, but Citizenship and Immigration Canada makes the final decision. The federal government also determines how many immigrants each province can attract through nominee programs.
Despite these restrictions, Nova Scotia will continue to push the federal government to level the playing field.
Last weekend, I met with Citizenship and Immigration Canada Minister Chris Alexander. I expressed government’s commitment to immigration, and our desire to continue working with the federal government to boost immigration to Nova Scotia. It was a productive meeting, and one I hope signals a positive way ahead.
We will also work with the federal government to further expand our provincial nominee program to include an Entrepreneur Stream that will strengthen our economy and create opportunities for all Nova Scotians.
Work is underway to establish the Premier’s Immigration Advisory Council, to be made up of those who have experienced our immigration system. The council will share innovative ideas and provide valuable input to help make Nova Scotia an even better place to live and work.
Nova Scotia must control its own destiny. This is how we begin to do that; through collaboration and a shared recognition of the important contribution immigrants make to communities across the province.
Immigrants help make Nova Scotia a vibrant, dynamic place. From business to academia, community organizations to government, we all have a role to play in improving our immigration efforts. Together, we can bring more immigrants to our province, and help them succeed in Nova Scotia.