Nova Scotia- The Business Climate

Basic Facts

  • The population of Nova Scotia is 940,000 with 350,000 living in the greater Halifax region.
  • Halifax, the capital city, is the financial, business and research hub of Canada’s Atlantic Provinces.
  • There are 11 degree-granting institutions and 14 community colleges in Nova Scotia. University enrollment exceeds 30,000. Community college enrollment reaches 20,000.
  • Each year, our workforce is strengthened by 15,000 new post-secondary graduates.
  • While job creation has been strong in recent years, 10% of our workforce is still available for employment.
  • We have an excellent infrastructure base, and an extremely competitive cost climate.
  • We have strong trading ties to the United States, going back over 200 years.


The Province of Nova Scotia covers an area of 55,500 sq. km. The mainland part of the Province is connected to New Brunswick and the remainder of Canada by the 28 km. Isthmus of Chignecto. Cape Breton Island is joined to the mainland of Nova Scotia by the Canso Causeway.

Nova Scotia is located at 59 to 67 Longitude and 43 to 48 Latitude. This places Halifax, its capital city, south of Tokyo, Paris, Vienna, Minneapolis and Portland Oregon. The coastline stretches for 7,400 km., but the overall length of the Province is only 574 km. while the average width is 130 km.

Number Of Businesses and Employment By Sector, 1997:

# Of Businesses


Mines, Quarries & Oil Wells



Other Primary Sectors












Wholesale Trade



Retail Trade



Finance, Insurance & Real Estate



Community/Business/Personal Service



Public Administration



All Businesses



Labor Force:

High Quality, Affordable & Available The Nova Scotia workforce is one of the best educated in Canada. About 10% of this high quality workforce is available to work, and at affordable rates.

Outstanding Infrastructure:

Nova Scotia is one of the few places in the world with a fully digital telecommunications network. We have the second-largest natural harbour in the world and excellent rail, road and air links to North America and the world.

Remarkably Low Costs:

A recent KPMG study found the cost of doing business in Nova Scotia to be the second-lowest among 40 international locations studied. The current Canadian exchange rate means an automatic 40% cost advantage over all US locations.

A Gateway to Opportunity:

Nova Scotia provides easy access to the market of almost 400 million people in the North American market. It’s only one hour to Boston; two hours to New York; by plane, it’s closer than you think.

It’s also a beautiful, clean, safe place to live and work with all the amenities. This site will tell you more about our part of the world and how it could be just right for your business.

Economic Outlook Bullish in NS:

Business operators in Nova Scotia are feeling very optimistic these days and they’re in good company.

A survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows an improved outlook among its members across the country. The mood is particularly bright here in Nova Scotia, where one in five respondents anticipates a stronger economy next year.

That optimism is likely to lead to more jobs. Nova Scotia CFIB members said they plan to hire 3 per cent more employees next year, well ahead of the national average of 2.7 per cent. Close to 45 per cent of Halifax respondents anticipate an improvement in their bottom line, while 25 per cent of those in Cape Breton report the same expectation.

These results are consistent with a bevy of surveys and forecasts from other organizations.

The Conference Board of Canada says that the Sable gas and pipeline projects, Michelin expansions and some high school construction will propel Nova Scotia into the economic lead nationally, both this year and next. The Conference Board is forecasting growth in gross domestic product of 3.9 per cent this year, a full point higher than the Canadian average.

The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council is just as bullish about Nova Scotia’s prospects. APEC says that remarkably strong consumer spending and export growth of more than seven- and-a-half per cent over the first half of last year make this province’s economic outlook one of the strongest in the country.

The TD Bank, the Bank of Montreal and other economic analysts are all making similar judgements about Nova Scotia’s economy. The province is number two in overall economic improvement, and investment growth will be stronger here than anywhere else in Canada.

Statistics Canada is forecasting a staggering 22.9 per cent growth in investment this year, almost twice the level of second place Quebec (at 12.8 per cent), and well ahead of economic powerhouses like Alberta (7.3 per cent), Ontario (6.8 per cent) and British Columbia (2.1 per cent).