Inclusive economic growth for Halifax

Inclusive economic growth for Halifax

< Back to Articles | Topics: Positive business environment


Wendy Luther, President and CEO, Halifax Partnership

With the start of a new year and a new decade, many of us will take the opportunity to reflect on what has happened over the past year and how much Halifax has grown and changed. This is also the perfect time to look forward to the future of Halifax, to remind ourselves of the work we need to do to ensure the strong economic growth in recent years continues into the 2020s and beyond to the benefit of all in our city.

We are not simply working toward a bigger city, but toward a better city in which all residents and communities have access to and can benefit from education and economic opportunities. It’s making sure, as Mayor Savage says, that as we grow, we don’t leave anyone behind — that Halifax is a welcoming, inclusive and affordable place to live, work and study.

This commitment is reflected in Halifax’s current Economic Growth Plan for 2016-2021. Next year, the Halifax Partnership and Halifax Regional Municipality, working with our investors and partners, will begin developing the next five-year Economic Growth Plan for 2021-2026 with a specific focus on inclusive growth.

Halifax and Nova Scotia are demonstrating exceptional growth, while the province has its lowest overall unemployment rate on record. However, across the province, African Nova Scotian (ANS) employment and labour market participation is showing little change. We are proud to support and continue working with ANS communities to develop the Road to Economic Prosperity: An African Nova Scotia Economic Action Plan in partnership with HRM and a community-led advisory board of partners including the Black Business Initiative. Launching this spring, the plan is focused on increasing African Nova Scotians’ participation in education, employment and entrepreneurship, while addressing historic issues that continue to affect economic development and prosperity in ANS communities.

We are encouraged by business engagement in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot and our Connector Program, welcoming newcomers and graduates into our workforce and professional networks. Through the new Halifax Innovation Outpost, we will work with our startups, scaleups, HRM and our community partners to address social issues impacting our residents and communities most in need. Community and government partners such as ISANS, EduNova and the Province of Nova Scotia are making great strides in creating a more welcoming community here. Many groups are working in this area and creating the foundation for success for a wide variety of individuals.

As we market Halifax to the world, diversity and inclusion is a key competitive advantage. Increasingly, when we are seeking to attract new companies to Halifax, they are asking pointed questions about the diversity of our student population, workforce and community leaders. They want to grow in cities where their employees can enjoy an equitable and excellent quality of life. We are proud to tell them that Halifax is welcoming more immigrants and international students every year and that more are staying than ever before.

It will take our entire community working together to build a more inclusive city — to be more inclusive in our hiring practices, policies, programs and community planning and development. In order to maintain our competitiveness and reach our growth goals, we need to double down on these efforts to make an impact in ensuring that the growth we see here is beneficial to all.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Positive business environment

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