A Regional Nominee Program for Cape Breton

Although an island blessed with extensive natural resources, a moderate climate, and a majestic landscape, Cape Breton has experienced a prolonged economic decline characterized by massive out-migration of young, well-educated adults.

A Brief Demographic and Economic History of Cape Breton

Cape Breton Island is the easternmost of the five economic regions in the province of Nova Scotia.

Although an island blessed with extensive natural resources, a moderate climate, and a majestic landscape, Cape Breton has experienced a prolonged economic decline characterized by massive out-migration of young, well-educated adults.

Over a period of several decades, really since the decline of its two core industries – steel-making and coal mining in the early 1960s, a variety of economic development programs have been largely unsuccessful. Cape Breton’s economic development initiatives have tended to focus on discrete projects and to view population stabilization as a by-product of successful economic projects.

Cape Breton’s economic decline stands in stark contrast to the growth and development of its neighboring island, Prince Edward Island. In the last decade, PEI initiated a population strategy in which, unlike Cape Breton’s approach, population stabilization was viewed as the mechanism by which the economic base of the island could be grown and diversified.

During the period from 2006 through 2016, according to Statistics Canada’s Census data, the population of Prince Edward Island grew from 135,851 in 2006 to 142,907 in 2016 (5.2%). By comparison, during the same period, the population of Cape Breton declined from 142,298 in 2006 to 132,010 in 2016, a reduction of 7.2%.

Consequently, in a period of fifteen years, a significant reversal has transpired for two islands located in the same geographic space in eastern Canada. Cape Breton which was the more populous region in 2006 by more than 6,000 people is now smaller than PEI by almost 11,000 people.

Of equal significance, as PEI has grown its population so too has the employment base of PEI grown. Total estimated employment in PEI grew from a level of 68,000 in 2006 to 71,500 in 2016 (CANSIM table 282-0125). By comparison, as Cape Breton’s population has declined its employment base has also declined. Total estimated employment in Cape Breton was 55,100 in 2006 and had fallen to 48,000 in 2016.

The key component of population change that has enabled Prince Edward Island to grow has been immigration. Prince Edward Island consistently experiences net out-migration to other provinces in Canada. In the past fourteen years, PEI has experienced net out-migration to other provinces in ten years (CANSIM table 051-0060). In 2014-2015, for example, PEI’s net interprovincial out-migration was 1,243. In the same year, however, PEI’s international immigration was 1,336.

In 2001-2002, total international immigration in PEI was 145. By 2007-2008, this figure had increased to 1,282 and the total has since been above 1,000 in every year but one. In 2001-2002, total international immigration in Cape Breton was 53 and in 2014-2015 it was 69. Unlike PEI, Cape Breton has no population strategy and, in particular, lacks a devoted immigration nominee program.

The provincial nominee program is not working well for regions outside of Halifax. Of the individuals nominated by the Province of Nova Scotia in 2016, 87% expressed an intention to settle in the Halifax capital region. This leaves very few nominees to move into Nova Scotia’s four other economic regions. The Halifax Regional Municipality – a region that comprises 40% of the province’s total population – is receiving well in excess of 80% of total immigrants coming to the province.

Meanwhile, the demographic situation in Cape Breton remains dire (see Figure 1). It is a crisis. Cape Breton is losing a minimum of 1% of its population every year and the median age of the population is now close to fifty (50) years, well above both the provincial and national average.

The more that out-migration that takes place (without intentional in-migration), the more difficult it is to sustain the public and private social and physical infrastructure that makes a region attractive for young families. It is a vicious cycle but a cycle that can be broken with appropriate policy support.

Figure 1:

The Role of Provincial Nominee Programs in Canada

In a recent study published by Statistics Canada (Bonikowska, A., Hou, F., and Picot, G. “Changes in the Regional Distribution of New Immigrants to Canada,” March, 2015), the authors found that provincial nominee programs in Canada “…accounted for virtually the entire rise in the shares of new immigrants going to Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, and played an important role in Alberta outside of Edmonton and Calgary.”

The data on Prince Edward Island is consistent with this finding.

The regions in Canada and Nova Scotia with relatively little immigration also tend to be economic regions with declining and aging populations and, therefore, are contending with a vicious cycle that undermines the sustainability of these regional economies and one which they will be fighting their way out of for decades to come.

The authors also discuss the reality that “[i]mmigrants from a particular country or ethnic group tend to enter destinations with a pre-existing community of earlier immigrants from the same region or ethnic group …”

For a region like Cape Breton, with no recent history of significant immigration, this means there must be a long-term commitment to a regional immigration stream. The region must develop its capacity to appeal to international immigrants; in addition, the annual allocation of regional nominees must also be large enough so that the region can effectively stem the overwhelming decline in population. This is an issue of achieving a critical mass as quickly as possible.

If Cape Breton is treated simply as a region within Nova Scotia without a specific regional nominee program, the ability to pull immigrants whose entry point is the capital region toward Cape Breton will continue to be, as it has been in the past, very limited.

It is well documented that of all regions in Canada, Prince Edward Island has the lowest rate of immigrant retention. Yet, and more importantly, despite lower retention rates than larger jurisdictions in Canada, because of immigration PEI has a stable and growing population which would otherwise not be possible.

This success in immigration has directly and substantially impacted Prince Edward Island’s annual economic growth to the point that it is leading growth among Atlantic Canada’s provinces and, in 2018, is forecast by the Conference Board of Canada to lead all provinces in Canada (see Figure 2 below).

Figure 2:

Now that PEI’s intentional immigration effort dates back approximately twelve years, it is expected that as PEI’s immigrant population continues to grow retention rates will improve significantly over time.

The Relationship Between Population Growth and Economic Growth

Population growth, stimulated by a strong immigration initiative, can and will lead economic growth in a region experiencing serious depopulation. In addition to improving population numbers, increased immigration likewise impacts median age and educational attainment in a region.

The recent experience in both Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island is evidence of this view. As stated, Cape Breton’s total level of employment during the past ten years has been steadily declining as the population has declined while PEI’s total employment has grown to accommodate an increasing population.

This makes great sense when consideration is given to the composition of gross domestic product. The expenditure approach to gross domestic product expresses GDP in a jurisdiction as the sum of four components: private consumption; business investment; government spending; and net exports. Population growth impacts each of these components.

There is no other policy and no other project that can impact a jurisdiction’s immediate and long-term growth prospects to the same extent as consistent population growth combined with an effective educational system.

It is well known that returns on education are very strong, both in terms of employment rates and an individual’s lifetime earned annual income. The employment rate in Cape Breton in 2016 was 45.1%, which is well below both the provincial and national average for the same period. In fact, the rate for Cape Breton is among the very lowest of all economic regions in the country and, of equal significance, it is falling over time as the population declines (Statistics Canada, Cansim Table 282-0123). The rate in Cape Breton is characteristic of a region with a relatively low level of educational attainment among the labour force (see Figure 3).

Figure 3:


Immigration, on a sufficient scale, offers both the potential to stabilize Cape Breton’s population and the potential to substantially enhance the educational attainment of the region’s labour force and, thereby, increase productivity, employment rates, and average household incomes over time.

Labour Force Survey Estimates – Labour Market Results for Immigrants in Canada

Although there is no data to indicate the success of immigrants finding employment in Cape Breton, there are labour force estimates specific to immigrants for both Canada and Nova Scotia.

Using the Labour Force Survey estimates prepared by Statistics Canada (Cansim Table 282-0101), in September of 2017 the employment rate in Canada was 62.2%, while in Nova Scotia it was 57.6%.

Although the employment rate for landed immigrants is somewhat below the average in both Canada (59.7%) and Nova Scotia (52.3%), the employment rates for immigrants landed more than 5 to 10 years earlier is substantially above the average for both Canada (67.7%) and Nova Scotia (68.4%).

Undoubtedly, for many immigrants coming to Canada, there is a period of adjustment. The data suggests, however, that immigrants are successfully integrating into the Canadian and Nova Scotian economies. There is no reason to expect that the experience in a region like Cape Breton would be substantially different.

Sub-Provincial Immigration Programs in Canada: The Future of Immigration in Canada

Recognizing that Canada is comprised of many economic and geographic regions, and that regions within a province have very different needs, challenges, and opportunities, particularly with respect to economies and demographics, a number of sub-provincial immigration programs have developed over the last decades. A cursory survey of some of these programs reveals considerable variation – each has been designed to address a unique opportunity or need within a particular region.

Some of these sub-provincial programs include:

Morden’s Community Driven Immigration Initiative / City of Morden, Manitoba

Under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program and with the formal support of the city of Morden, Morden’s Community Driven Immigration Initiative offers eligible applicants an opportunity to immigrate to the city of Morden.

This program offers formal support to applicants who have no other connections or means of support in Canada. The City is able to select immigrants appropriately suited for small town life and the needs of local businesses. Applicants do not have to have a job offer to be endorsed by the City through this program. The program empowers the local community to attract, recruit, screen, and support foreign nationals (FN) immigrating to the City of Morden, Manitoba.

The city of Morden is located in the Pembina Valley region of southern Manitoba, near the US border. The city’s population is approximately 9,000 residents and in recent years, Morden has welcomed many newcomers.

Prior to 2012, it was difficult in Morden to find workers.[1]  Local companies facing a lack of skilled workers began to reconsider their options. One large company, in particular, was looking at moving operations to Ontario or the US. The City’s Economic Development Officer began discussions with this local employer. At the time, the company required approximately 300 workers and neither the city nor the surrounding communities could meet this need.[2] Other Morden employers expressed the need for increased immigration to sustain and grow their businesses, and as a result, the MCDII was formed in 2012.[3]

Applicants to the program:

  • Must be under 45 years of age and over 21 years of age
  • Must not have any family members, friends or previous work experience anywhere in Canada
  • Must have completed a minimum of 2 years of full-time work experience (within the last 5 years)
  • Must have at least a one-year post-secondary degree or diploma
  • Must score a minimum of 5 in each area of English proficiency on the IELTS exam
  • Must have a real intention to reside and live in Morden, Manitoba
  • Must have lived in a rural area previously (ability to integrate into the local culture and climate)

If an applicant is not able to qualify on their own with the support letter of a friend or family member, they can apply to MCDII for a support letter, granting them an extra five points for their Express Entry (EE) profile.

For the MPNP Skilled Workers stream, FNs must first meet minimum qualifications. Currently, MCDII only accepts applications from those who have an EE profile, with the exception of welders and carpenters. FN’s then submit a special application to MCDII.

The Immigration Coordinator for the City of Morden reviews and screens applicants (a Skype interview may be conducted), narrowing down the pool of candidates. The remaining applications are reviewed by a volunteer committee who identify which applicants to invite for an exploratory visit and selections are sent to the Manitoba government.

During their exploratory visit the FN has an opportunity to research Morden and prepare for their interview with an MPNP Officer. If the MPNP Officer deems the FN a good fit for both MCDII and MPNP, the applicant will be given an invitation to apply.

The applicant can then apply online for MPNP and if they meet all minimum qualifications, will be given a MPNP Nomination Letter which adds an extra 600 points to their EE profile, enabling the applicant to be pulled from the pool to submit a full application for expedited processing.

Approximately 1000 applications are submitted each year, and of that number 5% are accepted. Roughly 50 families (200 immigrants for a population of 9,000) per year are supported by MCDII.

For the Renewed Business Investor Stream, FN’s must first satisfy provincial requirements. If requirements are met, the FN submits the Business Interest Information Form to Morden to be evaluated by a committee. If the committee determines the applicant to be a good fit with Morden’s business community, they will assist the applicant in planning and conducting their exploratory visit.

Afterwards, the FN completes the MPNP’s Renewed Business Investor Stream process which includes the provision of a business plan, acquisition of temporary work permit and applications, business setup in Canada, and permanent resident application.

Through the MCDII, the city also supports new companies (FN-owned or otherwise) looking to establish operations in Morden by helping to identify qualified employees.

The program has had a positive effect on community diversity, population growth, and economic development. Morden’s population grew by 9% between 2011 and 2016 or from 7,284 to 7,907. Of this number 780 were not Canadian Citizens. Morden’s population is approximately 9000 today, representing a 24% increase in growth since the 2011 census.[4]

Overtime, administrators of the program have learned how to better select candidates likely to stay in Morden long-term (rather than those meeting just minimum requirements). This has included choosing applicants from smaller communities, and ensuring employability and language skills.

Ontario Rural and Remote Pilot / Rural and Remote Northern Ontario:

The Ontario Rural and Remote Immigration Pilot (ORRIP) is a proposed pilot targeting rural and remote immigration to Northern Ontario. The intention is to expand the current annual provincial allocation of nominees to this region by 1,000 to 1,500 per year. The pilot will run for five years and, if successful, will become a permanent immigration program and expanded to the rest of Ontario’s (non-Northern) rural and remote communities.

The proposed pilot would involve a separate nomination allotment from the federal government above Ontario’s current annual Provincial Nominee Program quota.

Northern Ontario is a vast region home to 150 municipalities, 11 districts, 9 major cities and several small towns. Approximately 811,000 residents are dispersed across nearly 90% of Ontario’s landmass with over half of the population residing in 5 cities.  Additionally, 93% of its municipalities have a population of less than 6,000.[5]

Although Ontario’s total population has grown, the northern region is experiencing a demographic shift and population decline.

The Northern Policy Institute (NPI), in collaboration with other community stakeholders (Thunder Bay Multicultural Association, Common Voice Northwest, Reseau du Nord, and FedNor) has advocated for the rural and remote stream as one means of addressing the region’s demographic and population challenges. A formal proposal has been submitted and as of November 2018 no decision has been made.

Winkler Provincial Pilot Program / City of Winkler, Manitoba: The Winkler Provincial Pilot Program serves as an example of what can be achieved in a rural immigration initiative where close collaboration exists among city officials, businesses, and the Manitoba Department of Labour and Immigration. The Winkler Provincial Pilot Program was an agreement between the City of Winkler, Manitoba and the Province of Manitoba under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. The program operated from the mid 1990’s until 2012.

The Winkler Initiative resulted in the arrival of 50 German families within a few short years. The arrival of 50 families had been predicted, but their large family size had not. The incoming families tended to have many school-aged children, soon causing schools to be over capacity. Total numbers reached to more than 1,000 persons, in a town of fewer than 9,000 residents at that time. As this population grew and grew in age, a new high school was built in 2013. Winkler is now Manitoba’s sixth-largest city (as of 2011) and the second fastest growing city out of nine in the province.

Winkler had a population increase of 14.6% between 2001 and 2006, quite remarkable growth for a small Manitoba community, and the city’s population had grown to 10,670 by 2011, up from 6700 in 2001. 1,832 immigrants settled in Winkler from 1999 to 2004, with 465 arriving in 2004 alone.

BC Northeast Pilot Project / Northeast Development Region of British Columbia: Northeast BC is the least populated region in the province, and home to less than two percent of BC’s total population. Due to rapid growth of the energy sector, the Northeast Development Region of British Columbia had a high demand for workers. In April 2012, the BC government launched a two-year pilot project to expand the types of workers eligible for the BC Provincial Nomination Program in the Northeast Development Region only. The Northeast Pilot Project was extended twice ending on March 31, 2016.

Fort St. John BC Immigration Pilot Project / Fort St. John, BC: In 2015, the City of Fort St. John was approached by provincial representatives to consider a pilot project to address labour market challenges, improve retention of immigrants, develop partnerships to provide support for newcomers, enhance existing support services and serve as a model for other communities. However, after 18 months of collaboration and discussion, the pilot project was not implemented due to oversubscription of the BC Provincial Nominee Program.

In speaking with designers/administrators of a number of these programs, the following observations were offered:

  • Regions require the ability to recruit for, screen, and select applicants
  • Regions need resources to execute this recruitment, screening and selection, beyond what they currently have available to them, or spaces will go unfilled. Coordination is essential and this task cannot be left to the private sector alone.
[1] Shelly Voth, Immigration Coordinator, City of Morden, Phone Discussion, November 13, 2018.
[2] According to Shelly Voth (November 2018), this company employs more than 500 people today.
[3] Shelly Voth, Immigration Coordinator, City of Morden, Phone Discussion, November 13, 2018.
[4] “Census Profile, 2016 Census Morden, Manitoba and Manitoba,” Statistics Canada, accessed November 25, 2018
[5] “Prosperity and Growth Strategy for Northern Ontario,” FedNor, accessed November 19, 2018, http://fednor.gc.ca/eic/site/fednor-fednor.nsf/eng/fn04481.html.

Public Opinion on Immigration in Cape Breton (2017)

In September, 2017, polling firm Abacus Data conducted a public opinion poll of 1,002 adult residents of Cape Breton. The survey, which was commissioned by New Dawn Enterprises, examined the views of residents with respect to immigration. Several of the results are of interest.

First, when asked whether they would support or oppose increasing the number of immigrants that come to Cape Breton, 63% either strongly supported or supported increasing immigration. An additional 18% supported with conditions (mostly regarding the importance of ensuring sufficient employment for immigrants). Of the respondents, only 15% either opposed or strongly opposed increasing immigration.

Second, when asked about the impact that immigration might have on the island’s declining population, 68% responded that they thought it would help to stabilize the situation. In contrast, 26% thought immigration would not be a good solution to the declining population.

Third, when asked to qualify how they thought of Cape Breton’s declining population, 85% of respondents said it was either a very big problem (55%) or a moderately big problem (30%).

Finally, when asked “would you support or oppose the Federal Government working with the Province of Nova Scotia to give Cape Breton more control over immigration on the Island?,” 75% of respondents either strongly supported or supported this idea (see Figure 4 below).

When comparing these results to national surveys on immigration, the Cape Breton results are encouraging. They suggest the population is open to and supportive of immigration and realize that immigration is required in light of the declining population.

Figure 4:

The Specifics of a Cape Breton Island Immigrant Nominee Program

The key elements required in a regional nominee program for Cape Breton include: an appropriate scale for the program (number of annual nominees); appropriate minimum duration (in years); and the characteristics of the nominees who are most likely to succeed in and to want to stay in a region like Cape Breton.

In terms of the required scale of the program, in order to have the population stabilization impact needed and to allow for effective evaluation, the Island needs to target at least 500 nominees each year and this effort is required consistently for a minimum of one decade. This number, placed in context, represents approximately 0.4% of the current population of the region.

In terms of nominees, characteristics that suggest a nominee would be a good fit for (be able to integrate into), and remain on, the Island are desirable.

From the Statistics Canada publication “Which Human Capital Characteristics Best Predict the earnings of Economic Immigrants?” by Bonikowska, A., Hou, F. and Picot, G. (August, 2015), “educational attainment at landing and age at landing (a proxy for foreign work experience) are the best predictors of longer-term earnings (10 to 11 years after landing).” Moreover, the “…the earnings advantage of higher education is much larger among principal applicants who have strong rather than weak official-language skills.”

Specific to age, the authors find that “…the older an economic immigrant at landing, the less well that person does in the labour market.”

Via a regional nominee program, Cape Breton would seek applicants who:

  • Have lived in other rural or semi-urban jurisdictions (as per the Morden Initiative);
  • Do not have a connection to other regions of the country (as per the Morden Initiative);
  • Have the skills and/or education to fill current or anticipated employment positions on the Island;
  • Have proficiency in English or French.

As a starting point, the proposed regional nominee program would be modelled on elements of provincial nominee programs that exist with success in other regions of Canada.

Provincial Nominee Precendents in Other Jurisdictions

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) consists of two streams under which individuals can apply: Skilled Worker Stream and the Business Immigration Stream. Within the first category, there are two components: a Skilled and Semi-Skilled Worker Stream

For Temporary Workers: Individuals who are temporary foreign workers working in a skilled or semi-skilled occupation (all occupations) for a Manitoba employer, are eligible if they:

  • Have worked full-time for at least six months;
  • Have been offered a permanent, full-time job from the same employer; and
  • Have proficiency in English or French.

All applicants are asked to submit a settlement plan that explains personal and employment goals and plans for their future in the province.

In the Working Graduates Category: Students who have recently graduated from a Manitoba post-secondary institution are eligible if they:

  • Have worked full-time for at least six months as a recent graduate student from a program that was at least one year in length;

All applicants are asked to submit a settlement plan that explains personal and employment goals and plans for their future in the province.

In the Manitoba Experience Category: Individuals who have studied or worked in Manitoba are eligible if they:

  • Have worked full-time for at least six months; or
  • Have completed an academic/training course in Manitoba.

 Within the Entrepreneur Stream: The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program can recruit and nominate qualified business people from around the world who have the intent and ability to move to Manitoba and establish, purchase a business or become partners in an existing business within the first 24 months of arrival in Canada on a temporary work permit.

For an individual to be eligible under this stream, they must:

  • Make an investment of at least CAD $250,000 in the Manitoba Capital Region or $150,000 outside of the Manitoba Capital Region
  • Have at least three years of business ownership and management experience or have at least three years’ experience at the executive-level (business owners are given higher points in comparison to senior managers).
  • Have a minimum net worth of CAD $500,000;

An expression of interest and business plan must be received by the Manitoba Provincial Government and an invitation to apply received by the applicant to be eligible to apply. An exploratory visit to Manitoba is recommended.

These elements of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program are transferrable to the Cape Breton experience. Required modifications would become apparent as the program evolved; however, these elements offer a practical beginning framework for a regional nominee program in Cape Breton.

Final Notes

A number of provincial governments, and most particularly Prince Edward Island, have shown very positive population growth and economic growth following the implementation of provincial nominee programs. In some cases, five-year retention rates are below the national standard; however, given sufficient time for new communities to form and for populations to diversify, retention rates should improve substantially over time.

A regional nominee program for Cape Breton Island, conducted on the proper scale and modelled on successful initiatives in other regions of the country, offers the one real chance to stabilize the region’s economic and demographic decline which has persisted over more than five decades.

All of which is respectfully submitted by


On behalf of New Dawn Enterprises Limited

Appendix A: Island Readiness Overview

Island municipalities, schools, libraries, post-secondary institutions and civil society and business support organizations are actively engaged in conversations about immigration – the importance of immigration for the economy, the social fabric of the Island, and our ability to maintain critical private and public infrastructure, and the need for each to evolve to better attract and serve newcomer populations. Below is a very cursory overview of the services available to newcomers on Cape Breton Island and initiatives underway to ensure that the Island is a welcoming place for newcomers.

Y-Reach: a new and expanded YMCA Program provides information, orientation and settlement support to Immigrants and Temporary Foreign Workers and their families who are new to communities across Nova Scotia. There are two Y-REACH settlement counsellors on Cape Breton Island – one in Sydney and one in Port Hawkesbury.

Cape Breton Island Centre for Immigration: The Cape Breton Island Centre for Immigration is dedicated to welcoming newcomers to Cape Breton Island. We work to orient, support, connect, advocate on behalf of, and otherwise meet the needs of newcomers in service of their successful settlement in Cape Breton. The Cape Breton Island Centre for Immigration is home to one full-time settlement counsellor (located in Sydney, but serving all of CBI), one full-time retention coordinator, and one full-time Centre manager. The Centre is host of Sydney’s annual multicultural festival: Hello Cape Breton.

Cape Breton Local Immigration Partnership (CB LIP): is a collaborative community initiative designed to improve the integration of newcomers in Cape Breton. Launched in June 2017, the CBLIP works at the local level to foster a community that is welcoming and inclusive and to support newcomers to become fully engaged in the social, economic, political, and cultural life of Cape Breton. In order to improve integration outcomes, LIPs form partnerships that:

  • Support community-level research and strategic planning;
  • Raise awareness around newcomers’ needs;
  • Engage a wide range of local actors in fostering welcoming communities; and
  • Improve accessibility and coordination of services that facilitate immigrant settlement and integration.

Cape Breton Connector Program: matches community and business leaders (Connectors) with immigrants, and international and local graduates (Connectees) in their industry of expertise. The Connector Program is a simple and effective networking program that connects driven individuals with industry leaders who can help facilitate the growth of their careers here in Cape Breton.

Cape Breton University: With a recent influx in international students, Cape Breton University is increasing a community resource both as a source of newcomers, and as an institution with growing expertise in dealing with the needs of newcomers and their families.

Language training: Cape Breton is home to face-to-face publicly-funded and private English language training schools and programs. These include those offered by both Y-Reach and ISANS and ICEAP (International Centre for English Academic Preparation). For a number of years, Cape Breton has welcomed hundreds of international students and their families each year. This international influx has helped us to develop a substantial pool of trained professionals and volunteers with experience and training teaching English and/or French as a second language. These are in addition to available online resources.

Employment: Cape Breton has a number of employment supports and services including several Nova Scotia Works (Island Works) employment centres and a Service Canada Office. Each brings unique expertise and experience in the Cape Breton job market, connecting job seekers to employment opportunities, and offering pre-employment preparation and training programming. In addition to employment services, there are also a number of entrepreneurship services offered by the Cape Breton Partnership, the Regional Economic Network, Cape Breton University and the Island Sandbox, and Innovacorp. These are in additional to available online resources.

Housing: The vacancy rates in the rental market in Sydney, NS fluctuate between 3.8 and 4.4. This number continues to increase as the population increases in age and moves into long-term care facilities. This trend has opened up opportunities for organizations to purchase properties on a regular basis to provide a growing and sustainable list of affordable housing. Average rental units in Sydney are:

1 bedroom – $578   2 bedroom – $686           3+ bedroom – $826

Housing prices, like rental rates, are likewise lower in Cape Breton than in larger cities in the Maritimes and across Canada. These lower housing prices are a key factor in making Cape Breton an affordable place to live for newcomers to Canada.