Students Nova Scotia


Press Releases & Updates

Report and campaign call for action on youth employment, retention and attraction

For Immediate Release

Halifax, N.S. — A report released this morning by StudentsNS reviews the youth employment situation in Nova Scotia and concludes that leadership is critically needed from government, employers and post-secondary institutions. No More Farewells: Making a Place for Youth in Nova Scotia’s Economy recommends a suite of initiatives to create opportunities for youth to build their lives in Nova Scotia. The report release also marks the launch of Farewell to Nova Scotia, a campaign calling on the Provincial government to reinvest funds saved through the elimination of the Graduate Retention Rebate (GRR).

“Nova Scotia has suffered a net loss of young people aged 20-34 every year for the last 28 years,” said StudentsNS President James Patriquin. “We cannot allow this to continue, our government and other stakeholders need to act so that young people can find meaningful work and build their lives here. Our report provides a blueprint.”

The report identifies the urgent necessity for a Youth Attraction and Retention Strategy to be led by the province, also engaging employers and post-secondary institutions. Employers must show leadership in hiring more students and young people, compensating them fairly and investing in their professional development. The Province must implement policies to enable employers to hire youth and protect the rights of young workers. Finally, the Province and post-secondary institutions need to improve and expand employment counseling, experiential learning programs, and academic skills preparation.

“Students are heavily invested in developing our skills so we can find work and reach our full potential,” said Scott Byrne, StudentsNS VP College Affairs. “Government and businesses need to meet us halfway to make sure there are opportunities for us to contribute our skills and energy to this province.”

The report recommends the attraction and retention strategy be funded from the $35 million that the Province is collecting in added revenue from recent graduates as a result of the elimination of the Graduate Retention Rebate. This is the key message of the Farewell to Nova Scotia Campaign. The campaign features a website (, a petition with over 3600 signatures, strong social media activity, MLA forums on university campuses and march planned for later this Fall.

“The Nova Scotia government must demonstrate that it is actually taking the oneNS report seriously by reinvesting the $35 million in GRR savings into youth employment, retention and attraction,” said Executive Director Jonathan Williams. “So far, this government has been worse than complacent when it comes to opportunities for youth, and youth are standing up to say we are done with farewells, our government must act.”

The report was prepared by Bob Parker, StudentsNS Director of Research, and Brian Foster, former StudentsNS Director of Engagement and Communications. The full version, summaries and a factsheet are available at

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 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 or questions, please contact:

Jonathan Williams, Executive Director

(O) 902.422.4068

(C) 902.483.5480




James Patriquin, President

(O) 902.422.4068

(C) 902.718.7285




Scott Byrne, VP College Affairs

(O) 902.422.4068

(C) 902.300.5038


Kate Elliot