Nova Scotia saw record-breaking number of immigrants in 2019: data

A young new Canadian holds a flag as she takes part in a citizenship ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, to mark the 37th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Nova Scotia government said in a media release on Wednesday that they’ve welcomed a record-setting 7,580 new permanent residents in 2019, which they hope will help grow the population and strengthen the province’s economy.

According to recently released federal government data, the 7,580 new permanent residents surpass the previous record of 5,970 in 2018.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia approves record number of immigrants to the province in 2019

“Our immigration growth is something to celebrate. We plan, support and invest in immigration and it’s making a positive change in our province,” said Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab in a media release.

The province said they endorsed 1,208 newcomers and their families under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot in 2019 compared to 872 in 2018. The pilot was created in 2017 to address labour shortages in Atlantic Canada by allowing eligible employers to hire foreign-trained workers and international graduates.

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601 international graduates were approved through provincial immigration programs in 2019, up from 440 in 2018.

In addition, 54 doctors, including 20 specialists and 34 family physicians, have been nominated through two physician streams since 2018. However, Nova Scotia is still facing staffing issues in hospitals.

Over the past years, the number of ER closures has increased, nearly doubling from 444 closures in 2014 to 836 in 2017. In the first three months of 2018, the most recent publicly available data, there were 253 temporary closures, putting it on track to reach more than 1,000 temporary closures in the year.

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The province said that staff participated in 12 international recruitment events and 175 events in Nova Scotia to help employers understand the benefit of using immigration programs, which help address labour shortage and strengthen the economy.

Based on estimates from Statistics Canada, Nova Scotia’s population reached a high of 976,768 as of Oct. 1, 2019. According to the government, this is the fastest growth over a 12-month period since 1972, at 1.28 per cent.

-With files from Alicia Draus