In the battle for talent, companies want to locate in areas that are attractive to employees as places to live and raise their families. The Eastern Strait is such a place. It is one of the most attractive areas to live in eastern Canada and offers residents a wide range of tourism and recreational opportunities, safe and friendly communities and a low cost of living as compared to urban centres across North America.
Statistics Canada’s Community Health Survey reveals how residents of the Eastern Strait view their communities. When asked about their life satisfaction, nearly 94 per cent rated themselves as satisfied or very satisfied. The truth is that most Canadians have a high level of life satisfaction but those living in the Eastern Strait are among the most satisfied. The survey also asks about perceived life stress. The share of the population in the Eastern Strait (including Pictou County) reporting quite of lot of stress was only 14.3 per cent, well below the rates witnessed in larger urban centres. One of the most important measures relates to a person’s sense of belonging to the local community. This is a true measure of satisfaction with their community. A full 80 per cent of residents in the Eastern Strait claim to have a somewhat strong or very strong sense of belonging to local community, a full 13.5 percentage points higher than the national average.
Canada is known around the world as a safe place with strong social cohesion. Within Canada, the Eastern Strait is one of the safest places to live. Its violent crime rate is 25 percent below the already low rate for Canada as a whole. The two county municipal police forces (Antigonish and Guysborough) have not reported a single homicide in nearly 20 years.
Cost of living
A high quality of life and low cost of living in helps support employee recruitment and foster a high level of employee retention. Housing costs are approximately 40-50 percent lower in the Eastern Strait compared to the rest of Canada. The average household in Guysborough County spends 58 percent less per year on shelter than the Canadian average. In Antigonish County, the average household spends 35 percent less.
In 2011, the average value of homes in the Eastern Strait ranged from a low of $100,500 in St. Mary’s to a high of $211,000 in the Town of Antigonish compared to over $345,000 across Canada. Renters have the same advantage. The average monthly shelter cost for those who rent in Guysborough County is 45 percent lower than the average across Canada.
The Eastern Strait offers urban amenities
Residents of the Eastern Strait benefit from an unrivalled rural lifestyle but they also are in close proximity to excellent health care and education facilities as well as other services. From going to see a movie to eating at great restaurants, residents of the region are only a short commute from a range of entertainment and personal services.
We are a highly-educated region. More than 50% of our workforce has achieved post-secondary training and the number of people who have achieved education levels above a Bachelor’s degree exceeds the provincial average. Institutions such as St. Francis Xavier University and the Nova Scotia Community College provide both ample access to education and highly skilled jobs.
The Eastern Strait region is steeped in history and culture. Every year there are dozens of festivals and events to celebrate our heritage such as the Highland Games, Festival Antigonish and the Kilted Golf Tournament. There are numerous heritage sites including Historic Antigonish, the Cape George Heritage School Museum and the Old Court House Museum in the historic shiretown of Guysborough.
Recreation and Sports
For a rural region, the Eastern Strait offers a good variety of recreational opportunities including provincial parks such as the Arisaig Provincial Park, Beaver Mountain Park and hiking trails such as the Cape George Trail and the Fairmont Ridge Trail. To review your main options:
Nova Scotia spends more than $4 billion per year on a high quality public health care system across the province. Nova Scotians have access to excellent primary care in their local community and more comprehensive services and hospitals in towns and cities. The City of Halifax is home to a cluster of specialized health care providers that service people from all across Atlantic Canada.
In the Eastern Strait there are more than 150 different health care-related establishments ranging from physician and dentist offices to full service hospitals. The 2014 Community Health Survey undertaken by Statistics Canada found than nearly 93 per cent of people living in the Pictou/Guysborough/Antigonish region have a regular medical doctor, one of the highest rates compared to other jurisdictions across Canada.
The health care system is primarily funded and delivered by the public sector but there are private sector opportunities. Tertiary services such as dentists, optometrists, physiotherapists, etc. can be offered by private practitioners. Demographic changes translated into emerging opportunities for home health care services.
To learn more about the health care system in the Eastern Strait, visit the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority website. If you are a health care provider you can search the Nova Scotia jobs website to browse current job opportunities in Eastern Strait communities.