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N.S hits pause on applications from workers in the food and accommodation sector

Too early to tell how pause might impact convenience stores in the province.
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Nova Scotia announced earlier this month that it is putting an immediate pause on accepting immigration applications through the province’s Nova Scotia Nominee Program from those involved in the food service and accommodation sectors of the province.

According to Immigration.ca, this pause will primarily impact businesses that provide “short-term lodging and complementary services to travellers, in facilities such as hotels and resorts. The food and accommodation sector also comprises establishments primarily engaged in preparing meals, snacks and beverages, to customer orders, for immediate consumption on and off the premises.”

According to Global News, the province had received 460 applications through the program in March of 2023. In March of this year, that number had nearly doubled, to 830 applications.

In the report from Global News, Jenn L’Esperance, senior executive director with the immigration and population growth branch of the Labour Skills and Immigration Department, said that while it was great that such a large number of applicants and employers were using the program, “we need to pause at this point and assess the applications that we have in our office.”

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It should be noted that while the number for the province has doubled, the number of spaces permitted by the federal government for approval, some 3,500 applications, has remained unchanged from 2023.

Some in the convenience store sector, while keeping a close eye on all that is happening, say it is still too early to say how this pause by the Nova Scotia government might impact their sector.

Mike Hammoud, vice-president, Atlantic Canada, with the Convenience Industry Council of Canada, said that it is uncertain as to what this might mean for those operating convenience stores and their food service operations in the province.

“Right now, it doesn't have that negative impact on us yet,” he said when contacted by Convenience Store News Canada. 

Hammoud added that the real question will be if a convenience store’s food service operation would fall under this pause. Some convenience store operations do have their own branded food service operations as part of their business or have an QSR operation working with them. Only it is unclear is such operations would be impacted, by this pause.

“I can tell you this, it'll definitely be something we'll be watching closely because it is getting tougher to hire people.”

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