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Re: “Saying farewell to Nova Scotia for a reason

I moved to NS from the UK over two years ago with my wife, with the intention of having a slower pace of life and starting a family, with the recognised cost of career limitation and lower overall economic well-being. We both had above average paying jobs in the UK and have always been careful with money. We were attracted here by the friendliness of the people, the fresh air and open spaces and the fact that the Provincial Government seemed to have a real keen attitude to getting people to come here and forecast the availability of skilled jobs. We also looked (foolishly) at the overall financial statistics, demographics and raw materials outlook for Canada as a whole before making our decision.

Having only recently been able to navigate the snake pit of Federal Immigration and being legislatively forced to not work for approximately 8 months and having been through 4 menial jobs in this time (two I was constructively dismissed from, one was excellent but only part time and the last one I was fired from only recently - right before Christmas, nice - without a reason being given) we are now suffering financially as bad as when we were students. We didn't come here to get rich, but we're both postgraduate educated, don't mind about getting our hands dirty in manual jobs and certainly didn't expect to be poor. Our carefully accumulated pre-immigration savings are gone, we haven't been able to pay in to a pension, RRSP or RESP since we arrived (unlike our entire previous European careers), and we're the owners of a house that we know we can't sell in such a dead market.

What I'm saying is that, coming as an outsider, with a fresh perspective and high hopes, I am not surprised that people who are economically active are leaving in droves. I have met dozens of Canadians, British, Dutch Germans and even a few Americans who have come to NS with an entrepreneurial spirit only to struggle for years, see their savings dry up and some have subsequently gone "home". I expect more will in the New Year. The simple fact is, while Nova Scotians as a people tend to be friendly, helpful, easy going, affable and family oriented, the economics of being here don't represent this. Taxes are high, wages are low because employers know there aren't many jobs here and the cost of living is high (prices for everyday items and groceries seem outrageous to us). Workplace attitudes and practices, especially with regard to safety and efficiency are so out of date compared to Europe and the US I struggle to see how businesses can operate - the low wages and the fact that so many people here are Government employees I guess! - without going bust. Coming from the UK, where union power was heavily suppressed in the late 1970's and early '80's, I find such anachronistic practices here really surprising. On top of that, I have been utterly amazed by the fact that NONE of my qualifications are recognised here in Canada, not one. When trying desperately to get a job worth a damn and presenting my credentials I've been told time and again to go back to school, to relearn what I already know how to do!

Infrastructure is something too which really stands out too. In Nova Scotia, outside of HRM it is woeful, and I would describe HRM as adequate, barely. That said, hospitals seem pretty good, but we were lucky to get registered with a doctor, and have to travel 45 minutes each way on a majjor highway to get there. Paying for services be they water, sewage, electricity and even Internet and TV seem really expensive to us too, and cell phone charges are ludicruous (paying for incoming calls, who the hell has to do that any more!?!?).

All of this said, I will be starting a new career next year after some kind Nova Scotians recognised something in me and sponsored me to get some additional training. I can't say many others will be so fortunate, and I hope that this works for me and my wife, or we'll be heading west. I have several friends in Calgary who have been urging me to join the tide since we got here. I understand that a low population means a smaller and slower market, but there needs to be some encouragement to get economically active people to come and stay here - bringing much needed capital and new idea, or Nova Scotia is going to hollow out completely and collapse in on itself.

34 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Skote123 on 12/13/2013 at 2:20 PM

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