Nova Scotia levels of population

Nova Scotia reaches record levels of population

In December 2021, Nova Scotia achieved a new record in its population levels. The province reached the one million population milestone after some years of a declining population. “Reaching the one million mark is a significant moment in our province’s history,” said provincial Immigration Minister Jill Balser. 

Nova Scotia population

Statistics Canada: population of provinces and territories | January 20, 2022.

Immigration plays a big part in this growth since the province constantly attracts skilled newcomers to settle there. Also, the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration continuously work with employers from Nova Scotia to find ways to respond to the current labour shortage.

In addition to this record, Nova Scotia also has the highest immigrant retention rate in Atlantic Canada. The latest StatCan data, based on immigrant admission from 2014-2019, suggested that Nova Scotia retained immigrants at a rate of 62.8%. However, according to the province, Nova Scotia’s current immigrant retention rate is 71% (December 2021).

Everyone who lives in Nova Scotia benefits from this retention rate and growth “with a greater tax base, new businesses and jobs, greater diversity and culture, and improved infrastructure,” said the Minister.

Nova Scotia population

Statistics Canada: five-year retention rates, by pre-admission experience and province or territory, for the 2014 admission year.

Now, Nova Scotia is aiming to attract 25,000 newcomers per year through a combination of migration from other parts of Canada and strategic immigration efforts. Nova Scotia’s goal is to grow its population to two million by 2060.

Nova Scotia: Immigration Statistics 2021

  • As of October 31, 2021, 6,169 permanent residents arrived in Nova Scotia in that year, up from 3,001 for the same period in 2019.
  • Moreover, in 2021, the province approved:
    • 4,100 applications with a focus on attracting skilled newcomers to essential services (healthcare, transportation, skilled trades, education, and hospitality).
    • 68 applications of early childhood educators.
    • 1,735 international graduates were also approved to stay and live in Nova Scotia after their studies.

It is also important to mention that from January 1 to April 1, 2021, 5,696 people moved to Nova Scotia from other countries and other parts of Canada. Thanks to this, the province’s population grew by 2,877 – the largest increase in a first quarter since 1971.

Also, in November 2021, Nova Scotia offered new immigration pathways to workers in the restaurant industry: food counter attendants, kitchen helpers, related support occupations, food and beverage servers and light duty cleaners. You can read more about this in the following article:

About the Atlantic Immigration Program

On January 1, 2022, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) officially became a permanent program.


The AIP was launched in 2017 to help employers in Atlantic Canada hire foreign skilled workers who wanted to immigrate there. Of course, it also helped international graduates who wanted to work and live in one of Canada’s 4 Atlantic Provinces: Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

As of December 17, 2021, this pilot brought over 10,000 new permanent residents to Atlantic Canada. Most significantly, participating employers made over 9,800 job offers in key sectors:

  • health care,
  • accommodations,
  • food services
  • and manufacturing.

According to IRCC, 90% of applicants from this program were still living in the region after 1 year. This means that the pilot has a high retention rate.

Atlantic Immigration Programs:

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot has the following 3 programs:

1. Atlantic International Graduate Program: This program is for immigrants who have lived and studied in one of the Atlantic provinces. To qualify you must:

– have lived in an Atlantic province for at least 16 months in the 2 years before getting your credential. Of course, your degree/diploma must be from a publicly funded institution in an Atlantic province;
– meet the education and language requirements;
– show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family in Canada.

2. Atlantic High-skilled Program: This program focuses (in general) on immigrants who have:

– worked in management, professional, or a technical/skilled job for at least a year;
– have at least a Canadian high school diploma or equivalent education;
– you also need to take a language test in English or French;
– you can support yourself and your family when they come to Canada.

3. Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program:  To apply for this program, you must:

– have worked in a job that requires a high school education and/or job-specific training for at least a year;
– have at least a Canadian high school diploma or equivalent education;
– take a language test in English or French and show you can support yourself and your family in Canada.

It is important to note that the employer must also meet certain requirements. Also, international graduates hired through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, don’t need work experience.

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