Halifax financial centre keeps growing

There are basically two ways that governments can influence the creation of $100,000+ jobs in their province: a) hire more doctors or b) recruit companies that pay $100,000+ salaries.

A Bermuda-based reinsurance firm announced plans Wednesday for 80 high-salary jobs in Halifax, providing political leaders with a welcome respite from a series of worrying layoff announcements in the province’s manufacturing sector.  Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings Ltd., which provides insurance to insurance companies, said it will create the positions with average salaries of about $100,000 for its Halifax backroom operation by 2012, adding to an existing workforce of 92.

Nova Scotia Business Inc., a provincially owned business development agency, announced it will provide a payroll rebate of up to a maximum of $1.3 million to attract the jobs to the province. Tory Premier Rodney MacDonald, who faced opposition party criticism for travelling to Bermuda in a bid to finalize the deal, said the $16,380 per job cost is a good investment.   “That is something to get excited about as a province. Great news for our area,” he said.

The reinsurance firm is one among a group of Bermuda, U.S. and Caribbean financial service firms attracted to Nova Scotia over the past four years.  David Brown, Flagstone’s chief executive, said financial firms on the island nations have a close connection to Nova Scotia and have often recruited accountants eager to escape the province’s harsh winters.  But as importing talent to Bermuda has become more difficult, Brown has expanded operations in the province. The firm’s first subsidy deal came in 2005, when Nova Scotia Business Inc. provided just under $560,000 to create 50 positions.  The deal helped build momentum among the close-knit financial services world in Bermuda, said Brown, who has quietly promoted Nova Scotia among other firms.

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4 thoughts on “Halifax financial centre keeps growing

  1. I was in Bermuda last May, and it is a beautiful place. Beyond the geography, Bermuda has very specific rules to who can and cannot live on the island. Specifically, if you’re a foreigner, you can spend no more than four (I think) years there.

    My fiancee’s cousin is a HVACR mechanic, and was aggressively recruited to live there. Even though he’s one of only a few of his kind on the island, he’ll be asked to leave when his time is up.
    The reinsurance business has created a really interesting dynamic on the island. There is a definite split between the expat community who work in the industry and the native Bermudans.

    The island is only a two hour direct flight from Halifax, a fact which I’m sure really helps the Nova Scotian pitch. Bermuda is also linked with a few professional organizations in Canada, including the Chartered Accountants. We should be fostering these types of links between our communities.

  2. Canadians are just beginning to understand how important the issue of literacy is to the health, happiness and prosperity of people and communities, says Don Jamieson, CEO of the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network.

    The research network, a non-profit Canadian corporation, is co-ordinating the consultation process that will provide solutions for policy-makers and educators.

    “We’re only at the beginning of understanding just how big an issue this is,” Jamieson said.

    He said improving Canada’s dismal literacy rates, which are especially poor in New Brunswick, is the key to improving Canada’s future.

    The potential benefits, he said, far outweigh the costs.

    “If adults have better literacy skills they are going to be more productive in the workplace, they are going to be better citizens, health-care costs are going to go down and there are going to be fewer requirements for social supports and welfare,” he said.

    “People will have more job opportunities and they’re going to have fuller, more complete lives. This ought to be a case where the return on public investment is very good.”

    The research network states that fewer than half of New Brunswick’s working-age population (16-65 years) have the literacy skills required

    for coping successfully in today’s world.

    New Brunswick ranks second-lowest in average scores nationwide for literacy and numeracy proficiency.

    “But it’s highly variable,” Jameson said. “Fredericton, for instance, is a rich, literate and educated community. You have peaks and troughs in New Brunswick.

    “In terms of adults, it’s a use-it-or-lose-it kind of thing. If you don’t need it for your job and you don’t have a passion for reading and you don’t have very good skills when you leave school, your skills actually decline over time … There is a role here for a lifespan approach.”

    Penny Pacey of the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick said her presentation to the national consultation meeting Friday will focus on steps being taken in the province to address the inter-generational aspect of literacy learning.

    “Everybody is working hard to improve literacy,” Pacey said in an interview. “We have to make sure there is collaboration on this issue.”

    Andy Scott, the Andrews Senior Fellow in Social Policy, Department of Sociology at the University of New Brunswick, will be a panelist at the public consultation.

    “I think that literacy is an overwhelming challenge for a whole bunch of reasons,” said Scott, the former MP for Fredericton.

    “In my view, literacy is a human rights issue because without it, it’s impossible to fairly represent your own interests.”

    The day-long hearings in Fredericton will include presentations by New Brunswick business leaders, education experts and child-care organizations.

    “The panel is a magnet to bring everyone together to see what is going on and then make an assessment of what is missing,” Scott said.

    The National Strategy for Early Literacy is making only one stop in New Brunswick.

    In total, it’s holding eight public meetings across Canada in the month of March.

    “By holding forums in eight Canadian cities within 20 days, we will learn what is working in communities across Canada, discuss the implications for a national strategy to improve literacy, and make specific recommendations for action – by parents in the home, by educators in schools and early learning environments, and in the community,” Jamieson said.

    40 years ago when I saw and heard what teachers were forced to cope with (Inclusion, passing regardless, teaching in language other than the home language), I said , its not going to work.

    Now, again, we have the expertless experts, and guess what, not one of my obvious causes will ever be mentioned.

  3. Jamieson didn’t say this I did, looks like a error!

    40 years ago when I saw and heard what teachers were forced to cope with (Inclusion, passing regardless, teaching in language other than the home language), I said , its not going to work.

    Now, again, we have the expertless experts, and guess what, not one of my obvious causes will ever be mentioned.

  4. Be great to have agree, disagree thumbs to see the number of people around the world who agree with me. It is handy for people a bit self conscious and feel the intimidation imposed by those who attempt to ridicule when unable to inform.

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