With a national election having just been called by the — potentially outgoing — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, talk of the future of the economy is firmly back in the headlines of the national media. This trend is no less true in the provinces, where each respective party is in the process of staking out their vision for Canada over the next four years, attempting to convince voters that they have what it takes.
In Nova Scotia, for example, local political hopefuls have tried to convey a message of hope to convince voters in the upcoming provincial elections that they are beginning to turn a corner after the dark events of the last year. Much of this message of hope has centered around the state of the Nova Scotian economy and what sectors and industries need to be supported and stimulated to ensure it continues to grow.
With that said, what are some of these areas of potential growth? And what industries look set to shape the future of the Nova Scotian economy?
As in many other parts of Canada, one of the biggest areas of growth has been the construction sector. With a nation-wide housing shortage and a sudden shift to remote working, the construction industry in Nova Scotia looks set to experience significant growth over the next few years.
According to recent reporting by BuildForce Canada, between 2021 and 2023, a significant increase in construction and maintenance activity looks set to continue. This has, in part, been driven by strong and broad-based demand across both the residential and non-residential sectors of the economy in Nova Scotia.
With that said, the construction industry looks to be an important sector that Nova Scotia — and Nova Scotians — should invest in. This is all the more promising given that the demographics of Nova Scotia are changing. Despite fears that the population could age out, the rise of remote working and the desire for a cheaper cost of living and a slower pace of life could result in young migrants flooding to the province.
Gaming, gambling and casinos
Although the land-based casino industry across Canada has begun faltering in recent years, with declining revenues and visitor numbers, this has not been the case in the online world. This trend has been hastened by the events of the last year, with the pandemic resulting in an explosion in the number of new users registering for online casinos.
In fact, this shift has recently caused casino regulators in Nova Scotia and Halifax to reassess their restrictions regarding online gambling as a way of stimulating revenue production in this industry. As an illustration of this shift, the Halifax casino saw a drop in revenue of 30% between 2006/2007 and 2014/2015.
For this reason, online casinos in Canada and Nova Scotia represent a promising new source of revenue for the province. This is great news for the likes of Superlenny Canada, who have long been at the forefront of this digital trend!
Natural resources and power
Another important industry in Nova Scotia, and one that will contain to be important in the coming years, is the natural resources and power sector. Although coal was traditionally a leading mining product, demand is expected to drastically reduce over the next number of years. As such, we can expect to see a gradual shift to other mining resources such as salt, anhydrite and gypsum. Additionally, the province has significant deposits of sand and gravel which can be used in the booming construction sector.
Nova Scotia is also well positioned to take a leading role in renewable energy production as Canada transitions towards a low-carbon economy in the coming years. Tidal projects have long been established in the province — with the region’s first completed in 1984 — and we can expect to see many more come online in the near future. Nova Scotia also has a lot of potential to develop hydroelectric capacity in other tidal and high fluvial areas. These types of project will be particularly useful as the province shifts away from pumping natural gas in the Sable Island gas-wells.
With this in mind, renewable energies could help to propel Nova Scotia to new economic heights both at the provincial and the federal level. For this reason, we can expect to see significant investment being made in the near future.