A report by Statistics Canada about population trends could start alarm bells ringing in this province in that is shows more Nova Scotians leaving the province for what they believe are greener pastures elsewhere in Canada.
The report shows that as of April 1, Nova Scotia’s population was estimated at 942.300 – down nearly 1,100 from the first of the year. It was reported to be Nova Scotia’s highest net outflow of residents to other provinces since the first quarter of 2007.
It also shows that despite the best efforts of the provincial government, through programs like jobsHere, many Nova Scotians don’t believe they can succeed at home and are looking elsewhere for employment
While the loss of just over a thousand people provincewide may not be concerning at first glance, since population does tend to fluctuate depending on where there’s prosperoty, what should be scary is the fact most of those leaving the province are its youngest.
As younger people leave the province it places greater strain on rural communities and the ability of school boards to maintain programs and course offerings in areas where there simply aren’t sufficient students to populate school buildings. It also makes the challenge bigger for government to attract and retain physicians and other health care professionals in communities where there aren’t many patients to care for.
It also results in fewer people shouldering the burden for maintaining services. Considering those who remain are either retired, or about to retire, it often impacts what goods and services are available in small, rural communities compared to larger centres inside the province or elsewhere in the country.
As easy as it is to identify the problem, it’s more difficult to find a solution. More economic activity and greater prosperity will no doubt turn the tide, but as much as government tries to create economic development through its jobs strategy it has to be tough when the dollars coming from Alberta’s oilfields are much more attractive.