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Nova Scotia looks to double population to 2 million by 2060

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Nova Scotia has a lofty goal of doubling its population by 2060 and while the plan looks good on paper, some critics question whether the province can handle a million more people.

To hit the 2 million mark by 2060, the province will have to welcome 25,000 newcomers each year. It's part of the Tim Houston government's Population Growth Strategy tabled in 2021.

However, Nova Scotia is off to a good start as they welcomed nearly 29,000 newcomers and immigrants last year.

The province's Deputy Minister of the Deptartment of Labour, skills and Immigration Ava Czapalay estimates they'll surpass that number again this year.

"We're on track for a record-breaking year, after a record-breaking year," said Czapalay.

Meantime, critics are wondering if the province can handle the growth.

Halifax Atlantic MLA Brenda Maguire pointed to the lack of affordable housing options, the state of healthcare, and the doctor shortage.

"I would say if they are serious about that [population target] then they need to start looking at the infrastructure and start making massive investments in our schools and our hospitals," said Maguire.

While the province needs more housing, it also needs skilled workers to build it.

Officials say it will need an additional 11,000 skilled tradespeople by 2030 to meet the demand.

Jenniffer Watts, CEO of the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, says newcomers will be key in fixing not only the labour and healthcare crisis, but also the economy.

"The answer to the housing crisis and the healthcare access issues that we have in Nova Scotia, is in a large part through immigration," said Watts. "We have people that want to come and work here, and they want to contribute."

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