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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas Storring Director of Economics/Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

December 29, 2017

Statistics Canada has recently released revised and updated information on the number of people who report work (T4) earnings in one province while residing in another province. 

Over the period from 2002 to 2014, there was a rise in the number of interprovincial workers outbound from Nova Scotia to other jurisdictions to 26,685 by 2014 (including returns filed late or subject to adjustment).  The number of incoming workers from other provinces working in Nova Scotia was down slightly to 16,710 in 2014.


The amounts earned by Nova Scotia workers in other provinces rose to over $1.28 billion in 2014, though these workers also reported $0.25 billion earned inside Nova Scotia during the same year.  The incoming workers earned $0.42 billion from their work in Nova Scotia and a further $0.28 billion from work outside Nova Scotia.

The rise in outbound interprovincial workers from Nova Scotia during 2002-2014 was concentrated in the construction sector, wtih some gains in oil/gas as well as transportation, personal/repair ("other") services and professional/technical services.  (These data do not include those who filed late or had adjusted returns).

Interprovincial workers coming to Nova Scotia were most concentrated in service work, particularly in health/education/social sectors as well as personal/repair, wholesale/retail, public administration and accommodation/food sectors.

Alberta was the main destination for the increase in interprovincial workers leaving Nova Scotia, reaching almost 11,000 by 2014.  There were also increases in Nova Scotia workers bound for Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.  The number of Nova Scotia workers reporting earnings from New Brunswick locations declined.

The source of Nova Scotia's inbound interprovincial workers has also changed.  There were notably fewer interprovincial workers from Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick working in Nova Scotia while there were more from Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec.

By 2014, the net impact of interprovincial workers (incoming less outbound) amounted to a drain of 2.4 per cent on Nova Scotia's employment. This is measured as a share of resident workers plus those from other provinces working in Nova Scotia, which may not count the number who work in both their home province and another province.  Interprovincial workers had been a net gain for Nova Scotia in 2002 and 2003.  Compared with the rest of Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia had a smaller net drain due to interprovincial workers in 2014.  Net drain from interprovincial work is not just an Atlantic Canada phenomenon with net drains also reported in Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba (as well as Saskatchewan from 2002-2011).  Alberta had the largest net gain at 4.3 per cent in 2014 while Ontario and Saskatchewan were also positive.  


The composition of Nova Scotia's outbound interprovincial workers was disproportionately younger and disproportionately male.  Incoming workers to Nova Scotia were also disproportionately younger and male, but to a lesser extent than observed among outbound workers.


The data presented in this analysis focuses on the period from 2002-2014.  This period coincides with a substantial rise in oil prices (USD WTI) and associated investments in the mining/oil/gas sector - particularly in Alberta.  Alberta's investments (real $2007 chained) over this period echoed the fluctuations in oil prices.  The need for interprovincial workers to build oil-production facilities also followed this pattern, with an even stronger change in Nova Scotia-resident workers' contributions to the Alberta labour force.  Over the subsequent years, oil prices and resource investment in Alberta have declined substantially.  The impact that this has on patterns of interprovincial work are yet to be seen, but there have been changes in the amount of net interprovincial migration among provinces over this recent period.

Source: Statistics Canada, Estimates of inter-jurisdictional employment in Canada by province and territory (2002 to 2014), CANSIM table 031-0005US Department of Energy