Helping International Students Choose Cape Breton

News release

New Dawn Enterprises undertakes programming to support post-graduation student retention 

September 6, 2018 – Sydney, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Immigration is a recognized source of high-growth entrepreneurs and investment capital that can provide communities with new business ideas. As a catalyst for economic growth, immigration is key to building strong Atlantic communities, improving the region’s ability to compete in a global market and creating employment opportunities. The Government of Canada is investing $258,635, over a two-year period, in New Dawn Enterprises Limited for targeted activities to encourage the post-graduation settlement of international students.

The Honourable Mark Eyking, Member of Parliament for Sydney – Victoria and Rodger Cuzner, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton Canso, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

The non-repayable assistance will support the international student population at Cape Breton University (CBU) in transitioning from student to working professional through the provision of entrepreneurship-related training, networking, workshops and business skills development. Programming will include welcoming and orientation activities, a multicultural festival, graduation events for students and their families, and employment readiness workshops. The project will increase student awareness of permanent residency and immigration streams as well as provide cultural and social integration into the community and Cape Breton workforce.

This investment was allocated through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund. The Province of Nova Scotia, through the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, has also provided $99,998 in funding to New Dawn in 2018-19 in support of settlement services and programs for newcomers to the CBRM area. 

Today’s announcement builds on commitments made by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces to drive economic growth in the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, which involves targeted actions to enhance the region’s capacity to develop, deploy and retain a skilled labour force, making Atlantic Canada more attractive to immigrants.


“Immigration is key in helping to solve outmigration of young people in rural areas, an aging work force and in bringing increased foreign investment to Canada. Targeting international students to stay in Canada after completion of their programs is a strategic way of retaining a skilled and educated workforce in areas all over the country, including Cape Breton.”

-       The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

 “Investing in keeping international students in our communities is vital for Cape Breton’s economic prosperity. Making international student retention efforts more efficient and successful will result in new residents and visitors coming to Cape Breton to enjoy the lifestyle and innate characteristics that the Island offers. Our government understands the immense opportunities immigrants bring with them from all over the world, which is why we will continue to focus on attracting new international students and providing them with a multitude of reasons to stay.”

-       The Honourable Mark Eyking, Member of Parliament for Sydney – Victoria

“Increased immigration can play a significant role in addressing population concerns and the outmigration of our youth. Attracting international students and retaining them once they have completed their post-secondary degree is an important way to increase our skilled workforce and create new and future jobs for Canadians. With the international student population on the rise in Cape Breton, investment in new and emerging initiatives will set a standard for future immigration efforts in Canada.”

-       Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary for Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and Member of Parliament for Cape Breton – Canso

Our settlement partners in Cape Breton play a key role in helping welcome and settle newcomers, and together we are doing more to ensure immigrants and international graduates put down roots and stay on the island. As international graduates connect with jobs on the island, our work in immigration means they have more options to stay, which helps to grow our population and strengthen our economy in Cape Breton and across the province.”

-       The Honourable Lena Metlege Diab, Q.C. Minister of Immigration, Province of Nova Scotia

“Cape Breton University’s international student population is key to the success of Cape Breton Island as a whole and so we are thrilled about this investment. Education and innovation are key to growth and as a society, we are our best when we come together and share international perspectives. This investment will allow quality support services to continue to allow our students to thrive after graduation.”

-       David C. Dingwall, President, Cape Breton University

“Amid significant population loss, the international students brought here by Cape Breton University are a great gift to our Island. Those who have stayed have made incredible contributions. Helping more graduates to stay, thrive, and put down roots is an indispensable part of the change, growth and diversity we need here.”

-       Sohaila Abdo, Manager, Cape Breton Island Centre for Immigration, New Dawn Enterprises Limited

Quick facts

  • One full-time position and one part-time position were created as a result of this project.

  • Cape Breton University has enrolled more than 1,400 international students in the 2018-2019 study year and draws more than one-third of its student population from outside of Canada.

  • International students contribute $795 million a year to Atlantic Canada’s economy, $22 million annually in taxes and account for 6,731 jobs in the region (Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training, 2018).

  • About 25,000 students currently hold permits to study in Atlantic Canada.

  • According to a 2017 study on graduate retention by the Association of Atlantic Universities, 75 per cent of international students surveyed said they would like to remain in Atlantic Canada after their studies and become Canadian citizens. 


Alex Smith
Director of Communications & Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Phone: 902-426-9417 / 902-830-3839 (cell)

Lynette MacLeod
Nova Scotia Office of Immigration
Phone: 902-424-0424 / 902-229-0785 (cell)

Lenore Parsley
Communications Manager
Cape Breton University 
Phone: 902-574-1299

Erika Shea
Vice President of Development
New Dawn Enterprises Limited
Phone: 902-539-9560 ext. 223

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