The Chronicle Herald (Metro)

Canadians migrating to set up shop in N.S.

- ROGER TAYLOR rtaylor@herald.ca @thisrogert­aylor

For some time now, Nova Scotia has been actively encouragin­g people who can do their jobs remotely to consider doing their work from here.

The campaign had been primarily focused on people who are employed by large companies in Ontario or elsewhere, but have the flexibilit­y to work from home or anywhere they desire. That was prior to the COVID-19, and the pandemic has made the move more difficult.

The virus, however, also encouraged people who may have been thinking of moving to a quieter, less crowded part of the country to make the move sooner rather than later.

The trend was noticed in an Atlantic Provinces Economic Council's look ahead bulletin released in April.

“Anecdotal reports suggest people are moving to Atlantic Canada from elsewhere in the country, helping to bid up home prices in the midst of COVID-19. Opportunit­ies to work remotely, move to a region with less population density, fewer cases of COVID-19 and likely lower house prices, could be key motivation­s,” it was stated in the APEC report.

David Chaundy, APEC president and CEO, said most of the attention has been on immigrants from other countries gaining status in Canada if they have the ability to start a business, invest in, or acquire an existing Canadian company. But, he said, there hasn't been a lot of data or research done on Canadian entreprene­urs moving to Atlantic Canada to operate a business.

“There's no reason why they can't do it, but setting up a business is a lot harder than moving with a job,” Chaundy said. “Building that experience and network of contacts is difficult, but if you already have that networking elsewhere and experience from elsewhere, it may make it easier to do it here.”

Many of the would-be migrants snapping up homes in Nova Scotia, sight unseen in many cases, may not have a job that is easily done remotely. A segment of the Canadians from other provinces who are moving to the East Coast have dreams of bringing a business with them or actually starting a new business once they settle here.

For instance, Kendra Vyse, who operated an accounting, personal and corporate tax preparatio­n business in Manitoba, says she plans to continue operating her existing business but from Nova Scotia, and also plans to work as a consultant. She operates Clear Direction Business Advisors from her home in Mount Denson, near Falmouth.

Her new company is focused on helping would-be entreprene­urs write business plans and set up their systems, Vyse said.

COVID-19 helped to motivate Vyse and her long-haul trucker fiancé, Steve Corbin, to make the move to Nova Scotia sooner than they anticipate­d. Corbin is originally from the Annapolis Valley and she says the couple has had Nova Scotia in their plans for a while.

The biggest difficulty, Vyse said, has been finding adequate cell and internet service. The cell service has been less of a problem but high-speed internet was the number one requiremen­t for her home-based business.

“When we first started looking for a new home in Nova Scotia, we were looking at one place that we absolutely fell in love with,” she said, in a recent interview. “But when we took a look at the internet, the only thing you could get in that area was (less than suitable) rural internet.”

The internet issue, forced the couple to seek another location with the type of internet service Vyse needs to operate her businesses. “If I don't have that, I don't work,” she said.

There were other adjustment­s. For example, she could register her business in Manitoba and it would be good for three years. In Nova Scotia, you have register the business every year. Also, home-based businesses weren't taxed by the municipali­ty in Manitoba, but in Nova Scotia, Vyse said, the municipali­ty informed her there would be a charge added to her property taxes because she operated a home-based business.

One big advantage operating a business in Nova Scotia, has been lower insurance costs, she said.

In its April bulletin, APEC indicated that once the pandemic subsides, it is possible that opportunit­ies for remote work could have lasting effects on out-migration. In other words, there will be new opportunit­ies for Atlantic Canadians to stay in the region but perform jobs that they previously had to do in Ottawa or Toronto.

“Other Atlantic Canadians may choose to move back home and work remotely. This could benefit both urban and rural communitie­s,” the non-partisan think tank stated.

Bev Ledrew-hood and her husband, John, knew each other growing up in Quebec but they lost touch. About 37 years later they reconnecte­d in British Columbia.

Bev still has children living in Quebec and wanted to move to be closer to them, so the Ledrew-hoods decided to trek east.

She said they operated a vintage furniture shop in Chilliwack and wanted to continue the business once they settled in Nova Scotia. Ledrew-hood said they found a wonderful 100-year-old home in Weymouth North, with a little workshop in the back where they can continue their business, Goods at the Hoods.

The couple love hunting for antiques, she said, and plan begin offering how-to workshops on painting furniture. They have a retail business, selling specialize­d paints used in the restoratio­n of furniture but all transactio­ns are in person, she said.

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 ??  ?? David Chaundy, president and CEO of APEC.
David Chaundy, president and CEO of APEC.

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