Former Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil was a vocal proponent of immigration. His successor, Iain Rankin, is no different.
“We need people, there’s no question,” says the premier who took office on Feb. 23.
Rankin says immigration will play a vital role in filling labour gaps in many sectors. He says the province must streamline processes and work with organizations so credentialling can be smoothed out for professionals such as doctors, nurses and others who work in essential services.
Rankin says the province should be casting a wider net for immigrants.
“I think there’s opportunities to look out for in other countries that we haven’t had as many immigrants coming through, so looking at francophone countries across the world is something I know current Minister [Lena Metlege] Diab is looking at,” Rankin says. “Growing the francophone population is an opportunity.”
On the day of Rankin’s swearing in, it was announced the Immigration Department would now be named Immigration and Population Growth. While there was a cabinet shuffle for other positions, Diab remains in charge of immigration.
Amid low COVID-19 case numbers in Nova Scotia, there has been anecdotal evidence of people moving here, attracted by the relative safety of the province’s COVID situation.
“People are buying homes before even visiting here physically,” Rankin says. “We need to make sure government is taking a look at what infrastructure requirements are needed in communities to support that growth. People are now working from rural communities and their employment could be in places like downtown Toronto. The quality of life is attracting them and we need to build on that progress that is happening.”