Economic Vitality

Education is a challenge


According to data from the 2006 Census, many Acadians and Francophones in Nova Scotia still attend school for only a relatively short time. Some 30 percent of them did not graduate from high school. This percentage seems a bit high when compared to the provincial average (27 percent), but it is a significant improvement over the last census.

At the other end of the scale, Acadians and Francophones who have gone to university are a bit less numerous. Some 17 percent have a university degree, a percentage virtually identical to the provincial average. It should however be noted that Nova Scotia is above the national average for Francophones who have a post-secondary or university degree.

These numbers reflect the reality of rural resource dependent regions that are home to many Francophones. The mostly English-speaking urban regions attract young people who wish to pursue higher education.
 

Education, 2006, Francophones 15 and older, Nova Scotia

Education, 2006, Francophones 15 and older, Nova Scotia

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census

Francophone employment sectors


A large proportion of Acadians and Francophones works in goods-producing industries, especially the fishing and processing industries.

Francophones are quite well represented in the public service sector, where their proportion of the labour force in public administration, education, health and social services totals 36 percent. There are fewer in other tertiary sectors - 10.7 percent of them work in retail and wholesale trade.

In Nova Scotia today, there are 1,590 Acadians and Francophones who own a business or are self-employed, accounting for 8.7 percent of the French-speaking workforce. Many of these independent business owners employ others, and thus provide work to Francophones and other Nova Scotians.
 

Labour Force by Sector of Activity, 2006, Francophones, Nova Scotia

 
Number
%
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting
1,405
7.7%
Mining and oil and gas extraction
70
0.4%
Utilities
40
0.2%
Construction
910
5.0%
Manufacturing
1,920
10.5%
Wholesale Trade
430
2.4%
Retail Trade
1,520
8.3%
Transportation
660
3.6%
Information Industry
325
1.8%
Finance and Insurance
640
3.5%
Real Estate
230
1.3%
Professional Services
755
4.1%
Management of Companies
25
0.1%
Administrative Services
610
3.3%
Education Services
1,970
10.8%
Health Care
1,865
10.2%
Arts
365
2.0%
Accommodation
975
5.3%
Other services
665
3.6%
Public Administration
2,695
14.8%
All sectors
18,075
100.0%


Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census


Occupations


Job distribution by occupation provides a complementary perspective on the economic life of French-speaking Nova Scotians.

Two sectors clearly dominate: sales and services, which employ close to one Francophone out of four, and more recently finance, business and administration (16.1 percent).
 

Labour Force by Occupation, 2006, Francophones, Nova Scotia

 
Number
%
Management
1,685
9.3%
Finance, business and administration
2,905
16.1%
Natural and applied sciences
970
5.4%
Health
1,070
5.9%
Social sciences, education and government services
2,070
11.5%
Arts and culture
485
2.7%
Sales and services
4,240
23.5%
Trades, transportation and equipment operation
2,295
12.7%
Primary industry occupations
1,355
7.5%
Manufacturing industries occupations
995
5.5%
All occupations
18,070
100.0%


Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census

Income


The average personal income of Acadians and Francophones in Nova Scotia is relatively high at $32,168, which is $2,000 above the provincial average. This difference has increased since the last census due in part to the significant presence of Francophones in the public sector, where salaries are higher.

Two out of ten Francophones have incomes under $10,000 or no income at all. This proportion, however, is decreasing. Income varies strongly from one region to the other.
 

Total Individual Income, 2006, Francophones, Nova Scotia

Total Individual Income, 2006, Francophones, Nova Scotia

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census

A transforming economy


Source: Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse (FANE) and Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse (CDÉNÉ)

The main economic activity of Francophones and Acadians is still in-shore and off-shore fishing. The decline of fish stocks and the drastic reduction of fishing quotas have dealt a severe blow to the industry. In the face of this uncertain future, new avenues such as fishing diversification, tourism and small business are being explored. Some of these initiatives certainly show the entrepreneurial spirit of Acadians, for example, aquaculture and the cultivation of marine algae and medicinal plants.

Towards the end of 1999, the Acadian and Francophone community created its own provincial organization for the coordination of economic development, the Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse (CDÉNÉ), which also manages the Centre d'aide en affaires et en entreprenariat (CAAE) as well as the Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité de la Nouvelle-Écosse (RDÉE-NÉ), two components which are active in developing the business sector and building community capacity in the areas of economic development and job creation.

There are also groups that are active in regional economic development, namely the Conseil économique de Chéticamp, the Société de développement de Pomquet, the Chambre de commerce de Clare, the Chambre de commerce d'Argyle and the Chambre de commerce francophone de Halifax.