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Nova Scotia Boosts Services to Support New Immigrants

Canadian immigration is important to Nova Scotia's long-term growth.

The number of immigrants moving to Nova Scotia has tremendously increased, and the division providing support for this growing population has increased their capacity to meet this demand.

Last month, the province recorded 6,169 permanent residents who arrived during the first 10 months of 2021.

In the first quarter of 2021, the province’s population had increased by 2,877, with 34.5% of that growth being new permanent residents.

Nova Scotia had hit a significant population milestone of one million for the first time, all thanks to the newcomers.

According to Nova Scotia’s labor and immigration minister, Jill Balser, the increase in immigration is part of the planned population growth in the province.

She said that different types of workers are targeted through the Provincial Nominee Program and the Atlantic Immigration program, aiming to build and grow the economy.

Nova Scotia’s labor and immigration minister also stated that retention is the primary goal besides getting the workers into the province.

This is true for workers in the hospitality and healthcare sectors, which have been added to the Express Entry categories.

Working Closely With Settlement Agencies

Jill also noted the importance of welcoming newcomers, saying that the province collaborates with settlement agencies, the YMCA and ISANS, to give immigrants the necessary support.

Jennifer Watts, the CEO of ISANS, said that they offer a full range of resettlement programs to help immigrants settle in and familiarize themselves with the community they are living in.

ISANS also helps immigrants understand the various community resources, from the Canadian school system, language schools, and transit systems to the Canadian job market.

Watts also said that her organization has helped deal with the issue of professional qualifications not getting recognized in Canada.

Similarly, the YMCA offers support for the growing immigrant population at two places in Halifax.

According to the child and youth general manager at the Greater Halifax/Dartmouth YMCA, TL Johannesson, the YMCA assesses the community’s specific needs and works together to meet them.

She said that YMCA provides leadership and recreation programs, after-school programs, and other programs to help newcomers obtain employment.

Johannesson was quick to note that most of the programs are free, and they offer a subsidiary for paid programs.

COVID-19 Strategies

As the population of immigrants living in Nova Scotia continues to grow, both organizations say they have ramped up their services and have the staffing capacity to meet the demand.

They have come up with strategies to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions.

Watts said that ISANS had already adopted virtual services even before COVID-19 hit, and it was easy to make the transition.

On the other hand, Johannesson said that they are keen to observe the public health requirements and have quickly switched their programs to virtual services and even reduced the number of participants where necessary.

By 2060, Nova Scotia plans to double its population and Canadian immigration will an important component in reaching that goal.

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