Atlantic Research Group on Economics of Immigration, Aging and Diversity

ARG: Archived News Articles

Vol 3 No 1 Introduction: Refugees in Atlantic Canada

This newsletter is published on a quarterly basis and includes information on regional immigration trends, and related news and events. It also includes a feature article based on recent statistics on immigration in Atlantic Canada. Current issue discusses the annual trends in the inflow of refugees over the period 2001-2014 in Atlantic Canada. These trends are based on Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) data provided by the Government of Nova Scotia.




Over the period 2001-14, annual inflows of refugees in Atlantic Canada has varied between 508 and 705. There was a 7 percent decline of refugees coming into the region in 2014 compared with 2001 (Chart 1).

Chart 1: Annual inflow of refugees in Atlantic Canada (2001-2014)

In 2001, most refugees who arrived in Atlantic Canada were women, whose numbers were 5 percent higher than men. In 2014, this percentage was reversed when the number of men exceeded that of women by 5 percent (Chart 2).

Chart 2: Gender composition of refugee inflows in Atlantic Canada (2001 and 2014).

Most refugees were in the age group 15-44 at the time of arrival in 2001 and 2014. Children, those aged under 15 or less, comprised 31 percent of total arrivals in 2001 and 34 percent in 2014. (Chart 3).

Chart 3: Age Distribution of Refugee Arrivals in Atlantic Canada (2001 & 2014).

The top five source country composition of refugees arriving in Atlantic Canada changed between 2001 and 2014. While Yugoslavia topped the list in 2001, Iraq was the top source country of refugees in 2014 (Table 1).

Table 1: Top five source countries of refugees in Atlantic Canada (2001 and 2014)
































Democratic Republic of Congo





Democratic Republic of Somalia


Top 5 source countries





Total arrivals





 Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Most refugees arrived with high school or less education which may be partly because a significant percentage of them includes children. The percentage of those who had obtained a post-secondary education was lower in 2014 than in 2001 (Chart 5). Among those who were older than 15, about 77.5 percent arrived with high school or less education in 2001. In 2014, this percentage was 88.8 percent.

Chart 5: Refugee Arrivals by Educational Attainment (2001 & 2014).


Vol 3 No 1 Immigrant Settlement Service Delivery in Western and Atlantic Canada

Summary of the proceedings of a public outreach event held in New Glasgow, NS

With rising inflows of immigrants in rural and small towns (RST) of Canada, all levels of government are playing greater role in their settlement and economic integration. As one of its mandates, the ARGEIAD promotes research and knowledge mobilization focusing on regional dimensions of immigration, aging and diversity in order to uncover the facts about their economic significance. On September 15, 2015, the group organized a public outreach event on immigrant settlement service delivery in Canada to promote discussion on rural/urban challenges and public policy response. The event was held in collaboration with the Province of Nova Scotia, the YMCAs of Nova Scotia and Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). Audience included the three levels of government, businesses, community organizations, faculty and students.

The keynote speaker, Dr. William Ashton, Director, Rural Development Institute, Brandon University, Manitoba, was invited to present the results from his study: Settlement Services in Western Canada: Results from 29 rural and small centres which spoke to direct implications for Atlantic Canada.

Dr. Ather Akbari welcomed the audience and the Honourable Lena Metlege Diab, Minister of Immigration, Province of Nova Scotia, gave her opening remarks. The Minister highlighted the importance of immigration in the Province of Nova Scotia, in the light of its demographic and economic implications, and the attention her government pays to their successful integration in society. The need for their settlement in smaller areas of the province is also a priority for the present government.

As the following chart shows, RSTs in Western and Atlantic Canada have experienced significant increases in the arrival of new immigrants since the beginning of the current millennium.

Dr. Ashton’s study identified some challenges in integration and provision of settlement services in rural Western Canada that are shared by Atlantic Canada. Presentations by Nabiha Atallah of ISANS and Barbara Miller Nix of YMCA discussed those challenges faced in the Province of Nova Scotia. The YMCA is the primary settlement service provider in smaller centres across Nova Scotia and hosts onsite YMCA staff in Truro, Amherst, Pictou, Sydney, Bridgewater, Yarmouth and Digby, serving these communities and the surrounding areas. ISANS is a specialized immigrant services organization that has been serving newcomers to Nova Scotia since the early 1980s. Both YMCA and ISANS receive their major immigrant settlement funding from the Government of Nova Scotia.

Immigrant settlement remains a challenge across much of Western and Atlantic Canada. The needs of newcomers are similar in the two region. Employment and a lack of key services, such as health care, are major challenges for economic and social integration of newcomers. Language, recognition of foreign credentials, skill development, transportation and lack of childcare services are important barriers to finding employment which need to be addressed. Settlement services are limited and due to lack of funds, service providers are unable to expand their coverage to remote communities. On the other hand, language barrier also limits the accessibility of services for the new comers. As rural communities are spread over a large and thinly populated area, a partnership model among service providers will be a key to success in service delivery in both regions. This is an area where the Government of Canada’s model of Local Immigration Partnership (LIPs) can also be applied. Through LIPS the Government of Canada supports the development of community-based partnerships and planning around the needs of newcomers. LIPs seek to engage various stakeholders in a locally-driven strategic planning process including employers, school boards, health centres and networks, boards of trade, levels of government, professional associations, ethno-cultural organizations, faith-based organizations, and the community and social services sectors.

Dr. Ashton’s study is based on a comprehensive survey of rural communities in Western Canada with interesting policy implications for improving settlement services in rural Canada. However, each region has its own challenges. In Atlantic Canada, there are about 40 immigrant settlement service providers, including settlement agencies, YMCAs and community organizations, who receive funding from the federal and provincial governments (as mentioned in Nabiha Atallah’s presentation). A similar survey of these service providers will uncover any unique challenges faced by them.

Finally, the public good nature of immigrant service delivery provides an economic rationale for government subsidy of these services. The Government of Nova Scotia provides funding to both ISANS and YMCA in provision of services to immigrants settling in urban and rural areas, respectively. ISANS is a large scale service organization specializing in immigrant services while the YMCA has experience in providing services to a broad spectrum of society including youth, seniors, adults with disabilities, and immigrants. Hence, to enhance the returns to government funding requires obtaining a balance between the benefits of the economies of large scale provision of specialized services and an in-person local services to newcomers settling in rural communities that are widespread in the province. The survey of settlement providers suggested above can also reveal if that balance is being achieved.

New on the ARGEAID Site

Recently posted to the Research and Papers Library

Wenjing Bi | Working in Self-Employment: The Case of Chinese Men in Canada Masters research report, Graduate Academic Unit of Economics, University of New Brunswick (Academic supervisor: Dr. Ted McDonald).

Who Are Recent Immigrants‌: Based on a research conducted by ARGEIAD members Howard Ramos (Dalhousie University) and Nabiha Atallah (ISANS) along with Yoko Yoshida (Dalhousie University), Madine VanderPlaat (Saint Mary’s University) and Gerry Mills (ISANS). A more complete previous report written by Ather H. Akbari can be found here.

Immigrants Do Well In Nova Scotia (Infographics with the above report)

Vol 3 No 1 Atlantic Research Group Member Activities


Akbari, A.H. 2015. “Review of Social Transformation in Rural Canada, Community, Cultures, and Collective Action. Edited by John R. Parkins and Maureen Reed UBC Press (2013), English, 414 pages, ISBN 978-0-7748-2381-4.” Canadian Studies in Population(Fall, issue 4)

Who Are Recent Immigrants‌: Based on a research conducted by ARGEIAD members Howard Ramos (Dalhousie University) and Nabiha Atallah (ISANS) along with Yoko Yoshida (Dalhousie University), Madine VanderPlaat (Saint Mary’s University) and Gerry Mills (ISANS). A more complete previous report written by Ather H. Akbari can be found here.

Infographics with the report: Immigrants Do Well In Nova Scotia

Leyla Sal. Conjurer le sort socioéconomique et démographique du Nouveau-Brunswick par l’engagement pour la réussite d’immigrés entrepreneurs

Confronté à une crise économique d’ordre structurel, à l’exode de ses jeunes vers l’ouest du pays et à la problématique du vieillissement de sa population, le Nouveau-Brunswick mise sur l’attraction d’immigrés entrepreneurs pour insuffler un dynamisme à son économie. Pour ce faire, la province et des bénévoles se sont engagés à socialiser les nouveaux immigrés entrepreneurs afin de faciliter leur succès entrepreneurial et leur intégration dans une province rurale caractérisée par la vulnérabilité entrepreneuriale. Un type d’engagement stratégique en faveur d’immigrés dotés de capitaux économiques se met ainsi en place avec ses logiques propres.

Conference presentations

  1. Akbari, Ather H. and Azad Haider. “Role of community networks in economic integration of immigrants: some evidence from the housing market.” A Working Paper presented at the Atlantic Canada Economics Association meeting, Acadia University, October 2015.
  2. Sal, Leyla and E. Thomas. “Comment remplace-t-on les vieilles mains dans l'industrie de transformation des fruits de mer”. Groupe de Recherche sur les Cultures en Contacts), Université de Moncton, April 2015.
  3. Sal, Leyla. “Mismatch, labor market segmentations and reliance on temporary foreign workers in New Brunswick's fish and seafood processing industry.” Presentation in a forum organized by the Maritime Seafood Coalition at Moncton, July 2015.