Today, Cape Breton University (CBU) launched the Rural-Urban Immigration Pilot Project: Next Steps Report. The report outlines the current issues surrounding immigration to Cape Breton and recommends steps to be taken to increase permanent settlement and enhance community support and awareness surrounding immigration to the Island.
“Based on comprehensive research, a list of recommendations has been developed and an action plan is being implemented for the coming year. These recommendations address the concerns surrounding identifying potential immigrants, becoming a more welcoming Island, increasing connections between the local business sectors and international students, and working together as a united Island to make Cape Breton feel like home to newcomers,” says Dr. Keith Brown, Vice-President International and Aboriginal Affairs, CBU.
Over the last few months, CBU has been researching the attitudes and experiences of international students, meeting stakeholders and conducting community outreach.
Earlier today, Nova Scotia Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab thanked the Task Force for its leadership. She also announced $174,000 in funding for some new welcoming initiatives. Cape Breton University, in partnership with the YMCA, will highlight the benefits of bringing immigrants to Cape Breton and Cape Breton to Immigrants, through community workshops and related initiatives.
"We appreciate and applaud the Task Force's leadership," says Nova Scotia Immigration Ms. Diab. "We need to keep working together to promote immigration to Cape Breton and attract more newcomers. Immigration will push this region ahead.”
Cape Breton Island needs to reconnect its people, communities, businesses and potential immigrants. By working as an Island rather than separate regions Cape Breton will have a stronger opportunity to increase immigration numbers and provide the best possible supports and networks needed by newcomers to the Island.
Changing the narrative
Many people on Cape Breton Island feel hesitant to embrace the idea of increasing immigration to the area. There needs to be more awareness and education in communities on how immigration will benefit the entire province and more specifically how it can strengthen the social diversity, the labour market and economy on Cape Breton Island.
Embracing the Resources
Potential immigrants from around the world and international students attending post-secondary educational institutions on the Island see Cape Breton Island as a place where ideas can flourish and opportunity is waiting. With some local businesses facing labour challenges or the inability to find successors when owners retire, there is a clear need to focus on potential immigrants and particularly international students already on island as the key to keeping businesses open and thriving throughout the Island.
Encouraging change for the future
A fair distribution of funding for settlement services and programs for all communities in Nova Scotia is an essential piece to rebuilding the economy. The partnership between the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration and the Rural-Urban Immigration Pilot for Cape Breton has the potential to encourage change at the Federal level that would allow for more permanent residents to settle in Nova Scotia, with an emphasis on the need to provide support to rural Nova Scotia which represents over 45% of the total provincial population.
To view the report and learn more about the Rural-Urban Immigration Pilot`s next steps visit www.CBImmigrationPilot.ca