Nova Scotia : Why Are So Many People Moving Here?

Richard Payne
Published on July 9, 2021

Nova Scotia : Why Are So Many People Moving Here?

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Photo credit: @andrepoirierphotography on IG

Nova Scotia has always had a modest growth, with no real highs or lows unlike other Canadian provinces. It is generally a predictable and slower pace of life which has obviously generated a lot of appeal since COVID.

Since 2018, Nova Scotia has recorded positive in migration, with less people leaving to find work in other provinces. In the first quarter of 2021, 4700 people moved to the Nova Scotia from within Canada. International migration added just over 1700 people to our population in the same time frame.

The pandemic has prompted many Canadians to rethink where they want to live and build their lives, and with remote working being an option for many employers, Canadians have started to move away from major cities and provinces for a safer, more affordable environment.

Why is this?

There are likely several key reasons for this growth.

The Nova Scotia Government ran a very successful Work from Home ad campaign that began in December 2020 and ended March 31 2021. Its goal was to target remote workers in larger Canadian cities to move to Nova Scotia and focused predominantly on Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary.

This campaign attracted just over 531,000 inquiries during this period, including people from within Canada who were looking for a new place to live because their job now allowed them to work remotely. Nova Scotia’s affordability and slower pace of life suddenly began to appeal to a lot of people who wanted to get out of the rat race of big city living.

Another key selling point has been Nova Scotia’s successful pandemic response, its COVID-Zero strategy, rigorous testing/ tracing program and overall provincial safety.

Soon after the pandemic was declared in March 2020, the Atlantic region imposed some of the strictest lockdown rules in the country. This strategy has worked very positively for the Atlantic region in keeping the virus under control. There have been sporadic outbreaks between the four provinces but the overall response to the pandemic is one of success.

Additionally, there have been ongoing changes to Federal Immigration policies which have been strong drivers of Nova Scotia growth. Interprovincial migration has increased every year since 2015.

The most immediate impact of this growth is to real estate prices.

Peoples desire to live in Nova Scotia has forced competition and prices like we have never seen before. Nova Scotia real estate is booming with many homes selling sight unseen and above asking, mostly to Ontario buyers.

These buyers are generally coming from markets across Canada where prices are already high. They are often in a strong position as they sell their homes for top dollar with big amounts of equity being built up over the years. This puts them in a position to move here and potentially buy their dream home outright and live mortgage free.

This boom, not just in the major Halifax Regional Municipality area but all around Nova Scotia, has resulted in dramatic price increases across the province and a lot of frustrated local buyers who are struggling to purchase a home right now.  

As a province, Nova Scotia has so much going for it.   And it seems that our “secret” is finally out as people are starting to realise what a gem this province is. Sure, it’s not perfect. We pay a premium to live here but as far as I’m concerned, the positives of living here far outweigh the negatives.

And despite the hiccups right now, growth is what Nova Scotia needs. Less workers leaving the province to work elsewhere and educated Canadians moving here from other provinces and contributing to Nova Scotia’s economic recovery is surely a good thing?  

Now to attract many more doctors to ease the burden on our healthcare system.  

I’m happy Nova Scotia is growing, are you? I’d love to hear your comments!      

Resources and further reading:

Nova Scotia Data and Research

Stats Canada Census Profile

Develop Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Business inc.

Tourism Nova Scotia

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