Tired of Toronto? East Coast campaign asks, ‘If you can work from anywhere, why not work from here?’


Laurel Broten has a piece of advice for the people of Toronto: If you’re working from home anyway — locked down, landlocked and looking for change — why not do that someplace you’re going to love?

To be fair, Broten’s extended the invitation to the rest of the country, too.

It’s the message off a new “Work from Nova Scotia” online campaign seeking to entice telecommuters from across the country to relocate.

Broten, herself a transplant from Toronto in 2013, is the CEO of the Nova Scotia Business Inc., one of a number of provincial corporations — including Tourism Nova Scotia — that launched the campaign, taking advantage of the fact that COVID-19 shutdowns have, in many cases, made physical presence at a job site irrelevant.

“COVID-19 has changed our work world,” she says. “Many people are working remote. And many companies and individuals are saying even when the pandemic is over, this is a new way of doing of conducting our lives.

“We’re saying: ‘If you can work from anywhere, why not work from here? Why not work from Nova Scotia?’”

According to Statistics Canada, by the end of March 2020, almost 40 per cent of Canadian workers were teleworking, almost matching the proportion of jobs that StatsCan estimates could possibly, plausibly be carried out remotely.

Those are the people the campaign is trying to attract, part of an ongoing effort by the province to increase its population, grow its businesses and bolster its economy, in part by bolstering its tax base.

While those in other parts of the country cast envious eyes toward Atlantic Canada’s low COVID-19 case numbers, Broten said that’s only one of the reasons she’s happy she made the switch.

“The quality of life is exceptional. We’re surrounded by the ocean. We have clean air, affordable housing. Our schools are open right now; our kids are in school; our offices are open; our restaurants are open.”

Those are good reasons to live in the province, but to work remotely also requires a solid internet connect, she said. Develop NS, another of the corporations involved in the campaign, is in the midst of a major internet build, and predicts that by 2022 there will be available internet in 99 per cent of the province.

The campaign’s target is 15,000 new migrants before the end of the year. It focuses on two parts of the population; what Broten calls lifestyle migrants — those who will permanently relocate based on a desire for a better quality of life — and digital nomads, who travel on a more frequent basis and choose a location on more temporary time frames.

So far, said Broten, the response has been positive. The campaign website has attracted 262,000 clicks and more than a half-million views, and Broten said she’s talked to many people who want to make Nova Scotia their new home.

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Which doesn’t surprise her in the least.

“Why wouldn’t you want to conduct your remote work from a beautiful province on the edge of the ocean?”

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