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Now or Never? Student Demonstration Decries Government Inaction on Ivany Report and Demographic Crisis

For Immediate Release

Students representatives from across the province will be gathering at Victoria Park at 11am to speak to the media, although individual representatives will be available on site for interviews throughout the day.

Halifax, NS – Students Nova Scotia has erected a 25-foot-tall inflatable clock emblazoned with the words “Now or Never?” at Victoria Park in Halifax today. The action is drawing attention to the Nova Scotia government’s failure to respond to the Ivany Report, especially when it comes to youth employment, retention, and attraction.

“We’re here to send a message that the Province cannot simply shelve the Ivany Report. They have to act on Nova Scotia’s demographic crisis,” said StudentsNS Vice President University Affairs, Callie Lathem. “We need government action commensurate with the scale of the challenge and we need it right now.”

Nova Scotia has not experienced positive net-migration of young people aged 20-34 since 1985. By 2035, Nova Scotia’s workforce is projected to decline by 100,000 people. The 18-29 year-old population will fall by 25% between 2011 and 2031. Youth unemployment is double the rate for 25-54 year-olds, at 16.6%.

“When it comes to youth, Nova Scotia is on a 29-year losing streak and we can’t just fire the coach, we need big changes,” said StudentsNS President Brandon Hamilton. “The Province needs to make youth a real priority and invest accordingly.”

The Province eliminated the Graduate Retention Rebate in 2014, worth $49 million in 2015 to recent graduates who stay in Nova Scotia. This cash grab dwarfs the government’s Graduate to Opportunities and other programs.

“Post-secondary graduates are having a hard time finding jobs here, so they had out west for work,” said StudentsNS Vice President College Affairs, Scott Byrne. “If government doesn’t invest seriously in creating opportunities for graduates to be here, I don’t want to imagine where the province is going.”

This action is the latest in StudentsNS’ Farewell to Nova Scotia Campaign. The campaign has featured a website (www.farewelltonovascotia.ca), a petition with over 3700 signatures, strong social media activity, and an MLA forum at StFX. Student delegates met with MLAs on Wednesday to discuss different initiatives to support youth employment, retention and access to post-secondary education.

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Students Nova Scotia is a not-for-profit and non-partisan advocacy group that represents 37,794 Nova Scotia post-secondary students, including 86% of the university student population. Our members study at Acadia, Cape Breton, Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s, and St. Francis Xavier Universities, the Kingstec Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, and the Atlantic School of Theology.

 

For more information, please contact:

Jonathan Williams, StudentsNS Executive Director

Phone: 902 483 5480

Email: director@studentsns.ca

Kate Elliot