Strong growth in seafood exports, tourism and total population are among the positive economic trends in Nova Scotia, a year after the release of the ONE Nova Scotia Collaborative Action Plan.
“Leaders, individuals and organizations in communities and sectors throughout Nova Scotia are working collaboratively to strengthen our province, in response to the ONE Nova Scotia findings,” Premier Stephen McNeil said today, Nov. 7.
The 10-year plan, We Choose Now, was developed in consultation with stakeholders and sector leaders across Nova Scotia. It calls for action in eight areas of focus to advance the goals of the 2014 Ivany Report, which projected long-term economic and demographic declines if the status quo did not change.
“Our population has reached an all-time high, seafood exports have doubled in just a few years, youth unemployment has declined and we are on track for a record season in tourism,” said Premier McNeil. “This is a 10-year plan and there is more work to do, but there are many positive indicators pointing toward a healthy, sustainable future for Nova Scotia.”
Among the highlights in progress towards the Ivany goals:
–- annual seafood exports hit $1.68 billion in 2015, a 33 per cent increase over 2014. The Ivany goal is $1.72 billion
— 3,418 immigrants came to Nova Scotia in the first six months of 2016, more than the total of 3,403 immigrants who arrived in the province in 2015. These levels mark a significant increase from 2012, when Nova Scotia received 2,370 immigrants
— year-to-date September tourism visitation is up eight per cent for a total of 1,798,000 non-resident overnight visitors. Year-to-date room nights sold are at 2,097,000, up four per cent from last year
— youth unemployment is down, especially among those 20-24 years of age, falling from 17.1 per cent in 2012 to 11.8 per cent in 2015, where it remains. The national rate is 10.6 per cent
“There has been progress in many areas, particularly in immigration, drawing on Nova Scotia universities and NSCC to advance innovation, and strategic investments in oceans industries,” said Henry Demone, a volunteer member of the ONE Nova Scotia Coalition and chairman of High Liner Foods. “Nova Scotia has many assets and advantages that can be leveraged to grow our economy and compete internationally.
“It starts with innovation and investment in our businesses, and making sure our workers – especially our young people – receive the education and training required to fill our workforce needs.
Change is already happening in Nova Scotia as we look to the future – tidal energy, ICT cluster development, and of course, the competitive strengths of our many ocean-based industries.”
Grounded by a commitment to responsible fiscal management, the government has invested in education, career and employment services, oceans industries, innovation, business startups and entrepreneurship accelerator programs. The province has also announced $65 million in venture capital funding over the coming years that will assist startups to commercialize new products.
The report includes eight focus areas: The Early Years: Starting Strong; Our Future is Young; Universities and NSCC as Innovation Hubs; Immigration and Welcoming Communities; Our ICT Momentum; Going Global: Innovation and Competitiveness; Nova Scotia’s Ocean Advantage and Implementation: Ensuring Accountability and Sustaining Momentum.
Some organizations with an interest in this area are collaborating to develop a measurement framework, outlined in the eighth focus area. The framework will include an online dashboard to track progress towards the ONE Nova Scotia goals and share the information with Nova Scotians.
A list of progress highlights can be found here, medium.com/@nsgov/one-nova-scotia-progress-43c95fb14e1e#.eaoz66g2k.