Nova Scotia tends to punch above its weight when it comes to national news stories, and the topic of immigration is no exception. #cbiftrumpwins took the Internet by storm earlier this year and is going to be a running joke for a while, if not a real solution if he seriously actually wins. And this month, we have the distinction of making it onto the paranoid/racist/conspiracy theorists’ radar with the unfortunate (and now deleted) article in the Chronicle Herald concerning trouble on a local school playground that anonymously, anecdotally and, therefore most likely unreliably, pins some very unacceptable behavior on refugee kids. The fall-out continues and people are still lit up about this. Everyone has an opinion. It’s only been 1000-ish newcomers and 2-ish months and this is where we’re at. <sigh>
Meanwhile, in our line of work, things appear to be moving along nicely for the province with its new Entrepreneur Stream (word on the street is 33/50 invitations so far and a lowest score of 108 to date). Although our clients haven’t been overly excited about a temporary-to-permanent program that will take 3-4 years to complete, obviously some people are interested. The NS Skilled Worker Stream continues to be one of our favorites for enabling people who are already here and working full-time access to a permanent residence program. In terms of federal programs, positive changes are already in the works (age of dependents for immigration and citizenship rules), and we are heavily involved in some interesting pro bono projects to assist with private sponsorship and family reunification applications for refugees.
Despite its national profile and obvious attributes, there is an undercurrent of futility in Nova Scotia that can get you down. In our work, we spend a lot of time talking to people who are new to Canada and who see the potential of this place. Every week, I hear new immigrants talk about the opportunities they see here and they wonder why no one else sees them. Although I feel the same way, I often try to temper their optimism by warning them that there is a lot of negativity in NS when it comes to new things, new ideas and new people. Want to buy a business? Expect HR trouble when you take over. Want to get a job here? Expect interview questions along the lines of “how do we know you will stay?” Want to start something new? Expect a lot of naysayers. Lots of problems get pointed out but there is not much in the way of solutions. As a law firm that is bucking trends with our structure and approach (flat rates, agile processes, focus on service and results), we feel it too. Our modus operandi is always to be clear and precise in what we do and why we are doing it and just ignore the haters. I tell clients the same thing – a little less conversation and a little more action is sometimes the only thing that gets you through.