Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s three Maritime Provinces, and one of the four provinces which form Atlantic Canada. Its provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is Canada’s second-smallest province, with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq. mi), including Cape Breton and another 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2011, the population was 921,727, making Nova Scotia the second most-densely populated province in Canada with almost 20 inhabitants per square kilometre (52/sq. mi).
Nova Scotia’s per capita GDP in 2010 was $38,475, significantly lower than the national average per capita GDP of $47,605 and a little more than half of Canada’s richest province, Alberta. GDP growth has lagged behind the rest of the country for at least the past decade.
Nova Scotia’s traditionally resource-based economy has diversified in recent decades. The rise of Nova Scotia as a viable jurisdiction in North America, historically, was driven by the ready availability of natural resources, especially the fish stocks off the Scotian Shelf. The fishery was a pillar of the economy since its development as part of New France in the 17th century; however, the fishery suffered a sharp decline due to overfishing in the late 20th century. The collapse of the cod stocks and the closure of this sector resulted in a loss of approximately 20,000 jobs in 1992. Other sectors in the province were also hit hard, particularly during the last two decades: coal mining in Cape Breton and northern mainland Nova Scotia has virtually ceased production, and a large steel mill in Sydney closed during the 1990s. More recently, the high value of the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar has hurt the forestry industry, leading to the shutdown of a long-running pulp and paper mill near Liverpool. Mining, especially of gypsum and salt and to a lesser extent silica, peat and barite, is also a significant sector. Since 1991, offshore oil and gas has become an increasingly important part of the economy, although production and revenue are now declining. Agriculture remains an important sector in the province, particularly in the Annapolis Valley.
Nova Scotia’s defence and aerospace sector generates approximately $500 million in revenues and contributes about $1.5 billion to the provincial economy annually.
Corn growing at Grafton in the Annapolis Valley in October 2011
To date, 40% of Canada’s military assets reside in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia has the fourth-largest film industry in Canada hosting over 100 productions yearly, more than half of which are the products of international film and television producers. In 2015, the government of Nova Scotia eliminated tax credits to film production in the province, jeopardizing the industry given most other jurisdictions continue to offer such credits.
The Nova Scotia tourism industry includes more than 6,500 direct businesses, supporting nearly 40,000 jobs. 200,000 cruise ship passengers from around the world flow through the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia each year. This industry contributes approximately $1.3 billion annually to the economy. The province also boasts a rapidly developing Information & Communication Technology (ICT) sector which consists of over 500 companies, and employs roughly 15,000 people. In 2006, the manufacturing sector brought in over $2.6 billion in chained GDP, the largest output of any industrial sector in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia Nominee Program
- International Graduate Entrepreneur
- Skilled Worker
- Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry
- Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry