Nova Scotia

Nova Scotians more welcoming than ever, says immigration minister

Minister of Immigration Lena Diab says a more welcoming attitude by Nova Scotians has led to a record number of new arrivals in the province so far this year.

2016 already a record-breaking year for newcomers to Nova Scotia

More than 1,000 of the newcomers to Nova Scotia are Syrian refugees, who started arriving in December of last year. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Nova Scotia's Minister of Immigration, Lena Diab, said a more welcoming attitude is winning over families who immigrate to the province.

On Wednesday, the province reported more people have made Nova Scotia home in the first six months of 2016 than during all of last year. 

In 2015, 3,403 people arrived in the province, a record year for immigration. This year has already topped that with 3,418 newcomers making the province their home by the end of June.

More than 1,000 of those newcomers are Syrian refugees who began arriving in December 2015. 

Diab said the way Nova Scotians welcomed those families seemed to be a turning point for the province.

Welcoming people like never before

"They are welcoming people like they never welcomed them before," said Diab.

"The support that we have received across this land and across this province from one region to the next has been overwhelming. I don't believe anybody would have expected that kind of support."

Diab said there was a "big, big change" in attitude towards people traditionally dubbed "come from aways."

Nova Scotians embracing diversity, difference

"People are embracing diversity, people are loving the fact that we're all different."

The minister expects that change in attitude will convince more immigrant families to remain in the province. 

Diab said a decade ago fewer than one-third of newcomers remained in the province. The most recent figures suggest Nova Scotia is retaining close to three-quarters of the people who immigrate to the province.