Goal 2

International Immigration Deep Dive


Goal Status

checkmark icon to signify progressing Progressing On Track
Baseline: 1.9
Current: 0.6
Target: 0
Bands

International immigration to Nova Scotia has risen above historic levels in recent years. There was a particularly large spike between July 1 2015 and June 30 2016 due to the influx of Syrian refugees during that period. However, immigration levels in the three years since then have continued to be higher than historic levels.

As with interprovincial migration, international immigration to Nova Scotia has also been affected to some extent by macroeconomic trends in the Canadian economy. During economic growth periods, such as the mid-2000s immigration to Nova Scotia tends to be lower, as there is a greater pull for immigrants in booming parts of the country like Alberta. During periods of economic slowing or recession, Nova Scotia’s immigration has been stronger. For example, it peaked during the financial crisis in the late-2000s, then declined through the recovery period, and rose again in recent years as the slumping oil market slowed growth in Alberta.

Year NS Immigration
1971/1972 1709
1972/1973 1923
1973/1974 3064
1974/1975 2342
1975/1976 2004
1976/1977 1854
1977/1978 1219
1978/1979 967
1979/1980 1885
1980/1981 1271
1981/1982 1470
1982/1983 937
1983/1984 939
1984/1985 1049
1985/1986 974
1986/1987 1170
1987/1988 1212
1988/1989 1452
1989/1990 1454
1990/1991 1542
1991/1992 1927
1992/1993 2599
1993/1994 3084
1994/1995 3726
1995/1996 3397
1996/1997 3111
1997/1998 2590
1998/1999 1624
1999/2000 1674
2000/2001 1747
2001/2002 1609
2002/2003 1257
2003/2004 1707
2004/2005 1708
2005/2006 2197
2006/2007 2715
2007/2008 2668
2008/2009 2446
2009/2010 2413
2010/2011 2292
2011/2012 2360
2012/2013 2246
2013/2014 2779
2014/2015 2688
2015/2016 5442
2016/2017 4357
2017/2018 5137

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Note: Date represents change from July 1 in the previous period.  For example, data for 2018/2019 reflect the number of immigrants added to the population between July 1 2018 and June 30 2019.

Additionally, immigration to Nova Scotia is driven by federally-set caps on the number of immigrants coming into a province through each of the various immigration streams. Even with interest from Nova Scotians in accepting new immigrants, and interest from potential immigrants in migrating to the province, ultimately increasing Nova Scotia’s immigration requires increases to the relevant federal caps.

Increases have been made to federal caps on some programs in recent years.  In March 2016, for example, the annual cap on Nova Scotia immigrants through the provincial nominee program was increased by 300, bringing the cap for that program for the year up to 1,350.

Immigrants to Nova Scotia are most likely to settle in Halifax, with 85 per cent of immigrants in 2017/2018 landing in the city. Cape Breton and Kings counties receive the second highest number of immigrants in a given year, reflecting about 160 in 2017/2018. Most other counties receive a relatively small number of immigrants each year.

Census Division Immigrants
Shelburne 8
Yarmouth 20
Digby 22
Queens 6
Annapolis 17
Lunenburg 85
Kings 159
Hants 39
Halifax 4353
Colchester 77
Cumberland 15
Pictou 50
Guysborough 9
Antigonish 68
Inverness 25
Richmond 13
Cape Breton 162
Victoria 9

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Note: County level data has not yet been revised for 2017/2018

CHANGES TO THE INDICATOR, BASELINE, OR TARGET:

  • There were no changes made to the indicator, baseline, or target.
  • Contextual numbers were removed from the goal statement. It was assumed that the goal was to close the gap between Nova Scotia’s share of Canadian immigrants and population, not to reach the 7,000 immigrants per year provided for context in the Report of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building our New Economy. This was done to keep the goal consistent in case of future historical revisions to the source data.