Halifax- Over the past 20 years, the number of immigrants to Nova Scotia has increased, but the share of immigrants coming to the province has not, and retention rates remain among the worst in the country. This is the context for the challenges that are tackled in a new report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Nova Scotia today.
The authors of Expanding the Vision: Why Nova Scotia Should Look Beyond Econocentric Immigration Policy demonstrate the limitations of a narrow, short-term approach to immigration that seeks only to maximize economic returns. The report also lay out the elements of an alternative approach.
Co-author and Political Science Professor at Saint Mary’s University, Alexandra Dobrowolsky, says of the recommended approach: “Thinking creatively means redressing the gender imbalance in the existing immigration system, ensuring that more women are principal applicants. Creative policies are ones that invest in people and programs, for immigrants and current Nova Scotians.”
“Creative policies recognize the sacrifices immigrants are making to come here, and help facilitate more permanent residency, or make it easier for their families to join them and ensure that immigrants are able to use their skills and experience to contribute in the labour market and beyond in meaningful ways, benefitting them and our community as a whole,” points out co-author and Dalhousie Sociology Professor Howard Ramos.
“As this report makes clear, it isn’t fair to look to immigrants to provide economic and demographic fixes to the province’s woes and to generate all of the benefits of vibrant diverse culture all on their own. Agencies like ours are a critical part of ensuring that Nova Scotia is a place that makes it easy to come here and make it a place to stay and bring other family and friends,” according to Nabiha Atallah,Manager, Communications & Outreach, Immigrant Settlement & Integration Services.
Atallah goes on to say: “That requires investing in language services, and establishing fair processes for recognizing foreign credentials, among other necessary programs and services. The long term benefits of these kind of investments are felt by everyone in the community.”
“This report makes a strong case for taking a longer-term, more socially and economically-just, fair and balanced approach to immigration,’ says the Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Nova Scotia, Christine Saulnier.
According to Saulnier, “This approach must also frame how our government plans to tackle the full range of challenges facing the province. Nova Scotia’s immigration policy must be linked to a jobs strategy and a broader economic development strategy. This approach must balance the economic and employer interests with the social and cultural needs of workers, their families and our communities.”