Nova Scotia

'Time to get some facts out': Pro-immigration billboards go up in Halifax area

Three organizations have teamed up to place nine billboards across Halifax and Dartmouth to share a message about immigration that's quite different from billboards that caused an outcry across the country recently.

'Immigration is strengthening our economy in Nova Scotia,' says Halifax Chamber of Commerce CEO

This is one of the billboards put up by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia and EduNova. The timing comes not long after a controversial political ad that warned Canadians to 'Say NO to Mass Immigration' was taken down. (Patrick Sullivan/Twitter)

Less than two weeks after a controversial political ad warning Canadians to "Say NO to Mass Immigration" was taken down in Halifax, nine new billboards sharing a pro-immigration message have gone up in the Halifax area.

The Halifax Chamber of Commerce, the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia and EduNova (an industry association for education and training firms) have teamed up to place digital billboards across Halifax and Dartmouth.

"We felt it was time to get some facts out in the marketplace about immigration," said Patrick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce.

"Immigration is strengthening our economy in Nova Scotia, it's increasing our population."

There was public outcry after a billboard featuring an image of the leader of the People's Party of Canada was posted along a busy highway in Halifax last month.

Billboards like this one appeared in several Canadian cities including Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

Maxime Bernier's party told CBC the billboards — which also popped up in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Regina — were done by a third party.

The billboard owners then decided to take down the ads in response to "overwhelming" criticism.

"I think we were disappointed to see those billboards," Sullivan said.

The new billboards aren't in the exact spot of the former People's Party billboard in Halifax, but Sullivan said the two are "remarkably close."

"We hope that anybody who saw that billboard will see the more positive message," Sullivan said.

One of five designs for billboards that have been placed around Halifax and Dartmouth. (Halifax Chamber of Commerce)

He said he's seen a positive response on social media and is pleased people are embracing the messages.

The billboards went up on Tuesday and will be up for about a week.

They have five different messages, including:

  • IMMIGRATION GROWS: the economy, jobs and diversity.
  • 15,000 international students add over $400,000,000 to Nova Scotia's economy.

Robert Batherson, interim CEO of EduNova, said he saw the previous billboard as an opportunity to provide factual information about the benefits of immigration.

He said they hope to get the word out that Nova Scotia is open to newcomers.

"When we open our doors to new Canadians, when we open our doors to international students, to immigrants, there is a positive economic impact from that," Batherson said.